Be honest—sometimes you have a hard time with the “turn the other cheek, bless those who curse you” thing. It’s certainly difficult if you think it’s meant to primarily benefit the abuser, while you keep hurting. But it’s not. Creating an atmosphere of grace for the person who wounded you may be a result, but it’s not the point. You’re the point. Choosing blessing over self-pity is about your heart, your mind, and your identity.
You can’t love your neighbor, or anyone else for that matter, until you love yourself. But a broken heart can’t wholly love anybody, including you. If you’re focused on the pain, offense, humiliation, rejection, and injustice others have projected at you, rehearsing it over and over, you’ll get stuck there. That bitterness will bleed negativity into your thoughts, feelings, and your voice. Everything you speak, over your life and others, will be saturated with hopelessness, anger, complaint, cynicism, and judgment. That’s the language of hell.
That’s why Jesus says to bless those who’ve hurt you. The moment you do, it’s like reaching your hand up so he can pull you out of the pit you’re in. Jesus isn’t ordering you to pray for difficult people to break you. He’s inviting you into his realm of blessing to free you, heal you, and give you a new voice. In blessing someone else, you break off your own chains. As you forgive those who’ve hurt you, you’re putting the pieces of your heart into God’s hands. He’s healing your heart and mind. You’re becoming whole, and you’re not alone anymore. You’re beginning to see yourself with the love and grace he does, until both your cheeks are finally able to hold a genuine smile again.