Turn the other

A small example of how this verse can work.

"You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'If an eye is injured, injure the eye of the person who did it. If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the person who did it.' But I say, don't resist an evil person! If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too." Matthew 5:38-39

From the age of 11 until the age of 15, I went to boarding school in the beautiful Himalayas in Pakistan.

The setting was incredible, but it didn't always transfer across to relationships. Like any teenage girls, we all had our fair share of difficulties with our friends.

In eighth grade, I was sharing a room with four girls, including one called Grace. Up until this point we had been reasonably good friends. But one day, very suddenly, she took a huge dislike to me, without telling me why. She wouldn't speak to me or look at me. She ignored me completely at meals, in the dorm room and in class. It was a small school, and this was actually pretty hard to do, but she made a great job of it. It was as if I didn’t exist any longer in her world.

I was very upset for a few weeks. I tried to get her to talk to me and tell me what I’d done, but she refused.

So after a while, I decided that she could be as ridiculous as she liked, but that I would still be pleasant to her. So every time I passed her in the hall, I said ‘hi Grace’. I smiled at her pleasantly. I asked her to pass things at meals, and I was as conciliatory as I could be, without being cloying or over the top.

She ignored me successfully for about six weeks. And then one day, came up to me out of the blue. “Can I talk to you?”

“I’m really sorry," she said. "I just decided I didn’t like you one day and I was unfair and mean to you. But you kept being nice to me, even when I was being horrible. And I feel bad and I need to apologise.”

We were friends again! We were never best friends again after that, but at least we had a pleasant relationship and were on good terms. And I felt secretly pleased that my Christian behaviour had worked!