Turn the Other Cheek (?)

Contradicting interpretations are a part of Christianity. Some denominations don’t even believe there’s such a place as hell where God sends people to a destiny of eternal damnation and suffering. When presented with scriptural backing, they counter attack with scriptures of their own. Sometimes, denominations under Christianity seem like factions of a political party who pose as if they fight for the same interests. Dichotomies exist in almost every area you can think of, which is unfortunate considering the fact that all the denominations use the same Bible as the source of guidance and reference.

I remember analysing contrasting interpretations and trying to pick out the logical one as truth. The more time elapsed, the more I was made to accept that logic doesn’t always apply to matters of faith and religion. The very foundations of Christianity weren’t built on logical evidence. Because of this, it is imperative to follow biblical instructions as a Christian rather than always trying to deduce logical ways to go about everyday life that could contradict what the Bible instructs. But, it isn’t always as easy as it might seem.

Ayo Oritsejafor demanded that Nigerian Christians defend themselves however they can in 2011. That was after a bombing in the south which caused several injuries. Inevitably, this caused conflict of opinion. Some felt he was inciting violence, while others felt he was only proffering a logical suggestion. Some felt the logical solution would be diplomacy. Almost six years later, the hate continues. The number of Christians defecting to the pro-retaliation side continues to rise as the killings do. Now, when you tell large swaths of Nigerian Christians about Matthew 5:39, they are quick to inform you of their refusal to lay down while radical Islamists tear them apart. It is as if all the injustice has generated a collective paranoia in the north that can turn the most friendly individuals into gun-toting prey surrounded by blood-thirsty poachers.

Imagine coming back from a long trip just to find out your house was set ablaze by herdsmen just because you are a Christian. They make it clear to you that they want to wipe your kind off the earth. Would you leave justice to God if one approached you with a knife and you realised you had nowhere to run? Under the circumstances, picking up a plank and bashing his head in wouldn’t be such a bad idea; a brutal act of self-defence. “God will understand,” is what the pro-retaliation faction will tell you. “I cannot come and die.” Turning the other cheek would make no sense. Turning the other cheek would mean losing your life. But, then again, that’s what God would want you to do. I, for one, would stab the indoctrinated zombie multiple times in quick succession just to make sure he dies. God wouldn’t be happy with me, but I’d do it anyway. Why? Because I don’t want to be a martyr. At least not yet. I want to live my life to the fullest, just like most Christians want to.

It’s easy to ignore what is happening to Christians in northern Nigeria if you’re fortunate to not be there at the moment. It’s easy to throw Bible verses in their faces when they tuck guns in belts for protection. But, just incase you haven’t noticed, making choices to continually disobey or navigate around biblical instructions just to suit our selfish needs is, unfortunately, part of this journey. In Christianity, it’s not always black or white


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