Provocative Bible Verses: Turn the Other Cheek

Posted: January 23, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

“But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” Matthew 5:39

Many people want to bypass these provocative words from Jesus because they seem to imply that we are to allow people to just beat the tar out of us and not resist physical violence and injury. Having a sense of what I think Jesus really meant by these words causes me to wonder at how easily we get deceived into believing that it means something that is impossible to obey. God does not give us commands that are impossible to obey. He certainly gives us ones that are difficult and that challenge us but never ones that are impossible.

In order to understand what God wants of us, it is important to catch key details. Anytime the Bible gives a particularly vivid detail we need to pay attention. There is a vivid key detail in this verse that speaks volumes. Jesus said, if someone “strikes you on the right cheek” then you are to turn your face to him in such a way as to present your left cheek. The implication being that he may hit you again. What is the significance of the “right” cheek. Why not the left cheek? Picture someone getting hit on the right cheek. What is the most likely way for that to happen? Since most people are right handed and would hit someone with the right hand, then the only way for them to hit someone on the right cheek is to do it as a backhanded slap. What Jesus is speaking about here is not letting someone pummel you into a pile of broken bones. Rather He is talking about taking an insult. I backhanded slap is just that. It is an insult that challenges you to retaliate. It is an attempt to shame you and get you to either back down in utter humiliation or lash out and escalate the conflict. 

To turn the other cheek is neither humiliating nor retaliation. It is rather a response of strength that says, “I will not seek revenge because I am stronger than that”. It also says, I will not respond in shame because I have dignity in Christ. My dignity is not found in if I can hit you back and hurt you. My dignity is found in Christ and I will respond in just the way He would respond. 

In practice there are very few times in ones life when another person would give you an actual backhanded slap. There are times when they might give you a verbal one, or show great disrespect for you in some other way. It is those things that get people all worked up and excited. Think of how often you see people arguing and fighting because someone “disrespected” them. What they are looking for is dignity. They want an acknowledgement that they are a person of substance and importance. If someone does not give them that respect then they feel somehow violated. The means to get that respect and dignity is to exert power over the other person and show that you are stronger, better, more significant than they are. So instead of turning the other cheek, you strike back, preferably with even more force. If that is what you need to do to get respect and dignity then you will never have it.

Our dignity comes because we are made in the image of God. Our significance comes because we are called by Jesus to be world changers. Our power and strength comes because we are filled with the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to receive the insults of others and respond with as Christ responded to those who hurled insults at Him. 

Black athletes who broke the color barrier in professional sports understood this. People like Jackie Robinson knew that they would face insult after insult. Those insults were intended to humiliate and incite an even more violent response. The hope was that such a response would then justify the impression of the black man as out of control and uncivilized. But when the response was a quiet dignity that came from within it changed the world. Racial barriers began to fall and reconciliation started to take place.

It is no different for Christians. When we respond to insults with the same kind of vindictiveness then we affirm for the world that Christianity is a sham and a joke. But when we respond in quiet dignity, drawing on the power of Christ, we provoke a response of respect and wonder and we compel people to want to learn more about Jesus. Turning the other cheek is not impossible, but it is difficult. But when we do respond with the gentle dignity of Jesus, then we bring glory to Him.

Comments
  1. Becky Lavender says:

    Great post! Thanks for inviting me to this blog Blake and I are really enjoying it:):)

  2. Alan says:

    This whole passage is counter intuitive and counter cultural. Jesus open’s up a number of times with “you have hear it said, but I tell you” Being part of God’s family means that we don’t act like the rest of the world. We do not respond the way the world responds. It is rarely easy, but the effects are profound. Thanks for the post. We need to be challenged by the words of Jesus and by those who believe what He taught and continues to teach us.

  3. Matt says:

    Fantastic post on an endlessly difficult passage! Great treatment and explanation. Isn’t it amazing how the Bible, when understood, stops being counter-intuitive and powerless, but empowering!

  4. Dan Lacich says:

    Matt, the part about it being empowering is something people rarely grasp. Responding as Jesus calls us to keeps us from playing the victim and from responding in a way that the other person expects or maybe even is trying to provoke. Jesus makes it clear that the choice of response is ours. Thanks for your comments and I look forward to more. BTW I love your blog. Tell me about Levi’s House. Is it a house church or something else?

  5. Dan Lacich says:

    Alan,
    Thanks for the reply. It is amazing what results when we follow that counter intuitive teaching. It certainly forces the world to pay attention in a good way. Hope all is well with you. I look forward to reading more of what you contribute.
    Dan

  6. Robert says:

    Does being hit on the right cheek imply that it was a back handed slap? I was thinking more of the insult of being slapped in the face by the left hand of the agresor: in the Arab and Jewish culture it is taboo to greet with the left hand because of the function. I always looked at it as being a double insult to be hit by the left hand… Just wondering what your input is.
    Thank you,
    Robert

  7. Dan Lacich says:

    Robert,
    The left hand strike is really all about it being an insult more than a physical confrontation and inflicting bodily harm. I like the idea of the double insult given the culture
    Dan

  8. Bri K. says:

    I am twelve years old and I just got baptized (of my choice) on Easter Sunday.Today at school there was a girl who wouldn’t stop verbally horassing me mercilessly and I stayed calm because I remembered this verse. This is definitely one of my favorites because I know Jesus would not be happy with me-though he would still love me-if I had fought her today. Thank you so much for explaining the meaning of this verse to me and to everyone else who gets the message-it’s always nice to know there are great people still left in this cruel, harsh, cold world.

  9. Dan Lacich says:

    Dear Bri. K.
    Thank you sooo much for sharing your story. You have much to teach many adults I know. Your willingness to do whatever Jesus asks you, even if it is difficult to do, is a wonderful trait and I pray that you always keep it.
    Please feel free to share your thoughts about other posts on the blog. I look forward to hearing from you again.
    Dan

  10. L Morgan Reynolds says:

    Dear Bri K
    just received an e-mail from my sister-in-law thanking me for coming out of ‘comfort zone’ and attending her mothers funeral. This wasn’t hard on me as I had found significance in turning the other cheek as requested of us by Jesus Christ. I didn’t expect that I would once again be confronted with a brother who wouldn’t speak to me, a sister-in-law that would not grasp my extended hand, or a mother that would walk by me without noticing me. I am 57 years old..these series of rebuke’s have continued since I was 8 years old.
    Next Sunday I will address young women in a lock down facility
    and I will surely add this scripture and my God given response to the situation with the hope God’s word will not return void, and the peace that surpasses all human wisdom will lift us up on wings of eagles..no matter what. no matter who..no matter when
    thank you for a timely post!
    Morgan

  11. Timothy says:

    Thank you for this write-up. This seems to be in alignment with Dallas Willard’s teaching on this passage, as heard in his lectures and seen in his writings, especially The Divine Conspiracy.

  12. Mark says:

    What about the verse right before the one you mention? Matthew 5:38-39 in my Bible has Jesus saying, “The law of Moses says, ‘If a man gouges out another’s eye, he must pay with his own eye. If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the one who did it.’ But I say: Don’t resist violence! If you are slapped on one cheek, turn the other too.”

    Matthew 5:43-48 quotes Jesus, 43 “There is a saying, ‘Love our friends and hate your enemies.’ 44 But I say: Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in Heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too. 46 If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that much. 47 If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathen do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”

    This teaches that we should not fight with our enemies. If we are true believers of Christ, our families and we should be ready to be killed because then we will be in Heaven.

    I believe a Christian nation, as some think the USA is, should not have 2000 nuclear weapons, ready to destroy our enemies – that Jesus taught us to love. If too many of those nuclear weapons are used, we could destroy all of God’s creation on this planet.

    Do you think Jesus would want our country to spend almost as much money on weapons than all of the other countries in the world combined?

    Shouldn’t we care for the poor and minorities who continue to be harmed and held back by the powerful people in this country? Shouldn’t we do so much more to guarantee that Black children can read before they graduate from high school? Many school districts that are run by White school boards allow minority students to advance in grades without learning anything.

    Jesus came to deliver justice and fairness. He did not come to grant permission for indulgent living, nor did He come to lavish goodies upon His disciples. Our North American extravagance robs people around the globe of their very lives. Jesus asked us to even the score, not deepen the disparity. Throughout the whole of Scripture, I cannot think of a subject that is returned to more frequently than that of justice for the oppressed—which would especially include the poor. It matters so much that in the parable of the sheep and the goats (see Matthew 25:31-46), those going to Heaven and those going to Hell are not separated by whether or not they said the sinner’s prayer—they are separated by whether or not they took care of the poor and marginalized. Jesus tells us that those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and care for the sick and imprisoned will be welcomed into eternal life.

  13. Jason says:

    Over the past weekend, I was talking to an associate at a social gathering about a friend I knew. As the conversation escaladed I realized this old friend was currently dating the girl. The guy began to get angry at the fact that the girl and I used to hang out. After, everyone was leaveing, this guy attacked me and started hitting me in on the right side of my face. I repeatedly kept telling him that I was not going to hit him back at all. Long-story-short, the whole right side of my face is swollen and I feel a bit embarrased about the whole situation, However; all that has been running threw my mind is how Jesus said to turn the other cheak. I pray that in some small way God used me as an example. I pray I gave the right impression that night. Thank you for this great post. I needed to read this.

  14. Dan Lacich says:

    Jason,

    I commend you on your strength and character. There is no need to feel embarrassed that I can see. It seems to me that the other guy is the one who must feel pretty embarrassed right now.
    Blessings to you
    Dan

  15. [...] DJers? Let’s glean a lesson from this, if we can. As I fight every single battle employing the family motto “See the hill, take the hill,” I am asking for myself as much as for the White House (the denizens of which, chances are, don’t read this blog, anyway): When someone says something false about you, how many times do you turn the other cheek? [...]

  16. John says:

    I just read the article, “The cheek of it…”, and near the beginning it says, “Turning the other cheek is neither natural nor easy. It is important to remember that to turn the other cheek is not: to become a doormat for others to walk all over; to ask for another hit; a sign of low self-confidence.” I am just curious as to what you would suggest a Christian do so as to prevent being walked on? That is, to have dignity?
    Thanks

  17. mimitagmaouioui says:

    Thank you for this post !Very helpful!God bless you all!

  18. Anita says:

    I really think that Jesus intended these words to inspire us to realize that we are more than our flesh. When we turn the other cheek we acknowledge that although you may punish my flesh, my spirit in Christ is indomitable. Turning the other cheek weakens our opponent (who is allowing themselves to be influenced by Satan) because we demonstrate by this action that their evil actions are meaningless to us. The actual act of turning the other cheek in a real-life situation would require more strength and will than most people have (myself included) but I believe that if Christ’s words were practiced the power of evil would be diminished by not being answered in kind.

  19. Dan Lacich says:

    Anita,
    Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing them. Turning the other cheek does require far more strength than swinging back.

  20. Lost, Feddup, Confused says:

    I need help please email me, this isnt a joke

  21. Samantha W. says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I am thirteen years old and i have been having some problems with “friends”. This post has helped me realize that I have been going about these fights with my friend all the wrong way. I have tried and tried to keep my temper down when she insults me or gossips. Unfortunately, my temper has a mind of its own. This blog has helped me realize that even though she may be hurting me, I need to treat her how I want to be treated. Being rude and letting her provoke me is getting me nowhere. I really don’t want to ruin my 8th grade year with fighting. I want to leave a footprint at my school when I leave. I want to be remembered for who I am on the inside not for the petty things that get in the way. Thank you for helping me understand what to do. And even if she slaps me on the other cheek, well i’ll just turn the other one again.
    thank you

  22. kim says:

    This is great! I really needed this right now.

  23. Mark says:

    Here in Canada it can be difficult to turn the other cheek; especially when
    we feel we have been dealt with unfairly. This can be by employers who have turned
    us down for a job we were qualified for. Also, when different levels of
    government, both Federal and provincial turn a blind eye and refuse to listen
    to our requests; even though we may be right. As Christians we must follow what
    Jesus said and turn the other cheek. Sometimes there isn’t much you can do when
    someone else has the power to make decisions whether good or bad.

  24. Sharon says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing!

  25. onegodfaith says:

    Here is what Cyrus1 has to say about this matter

    “An eye for an eye” law is not withdrawn, it never was, but Jesus gave us another solution, an alternative way which is by far more acceseptable for us. Now tell me how could we restore the equality and carry out the Law at the same time if we are not righteous enough to do it but we have to do it at any cost? The answer is simple: may God do this job on my account of suffering.

    Matthew 5:39-42 lines are indeed compatible with the Mathew 5:38 line and stands as a better alternative option. Look this: if I constantly slam the other person’s cheeks, if I myself require others to do me favours, to give me various things or lend me something and I even resort to violence in order to achieve it and now it happens that somebody else does the same with me, is it right? Of course it is. And I cannot say that he did it first because, as I have told before, we already were the first ones to do such things. Therefore in order to restore the equality we must accept insults, requests and so on. By reacting leniently like this we carry out the law “an eye for an eye”.

    Moreover, Matthew 5:39-42 lines contains an idea which could be briefly identified with the word “double”. Why double? When a good man believes in one God, he knows that everyone is equal before God. Hence he also understands that all of his good deeds and the heavenly remuneration for them is not his merit. He understands that God might have created him bad as well.

    The saints seek (fulfilling the will of God), that people would become not only equal before God, but also equal in glory as characters of this Divine story. Such a story would not be frightening to any possible character anymore. This is why you need to do everything “double” so as to do this new level equation. You take the first hit on the face out of sheer equality because you once also made others to suffer. But you also prepare for and probably take the second hit on the face because you want to change the Divine story and get the equality to an advanced level. Preople who behave like this want that everybody were equal in goodness. Jesus Christ acted in a logical fashion when he did not throw a stone on the sinful girl or when he let people to nail him on the cross.
    Anyway, thanks for the great thoughts at your blog!

  26. Chuck here in Florida says:

    Mark :What about the verse right before the one you mention? Matthew 5:38-39 in my Bible has Jesus saying, “The law of Moses says, ‘If a man gouges out another’s eye, he must pay with his own eye. If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the one who did it.’ But I say: Don’t resist violence! If you are slapped on one cheek, turn the other too.”
    Matthew 5:43-48 quotes Jesus, 43 “There is a saying, ‘Love our friends and hate your enemies.’ 44 But I say: Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in Heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too. 46 If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that much. 47 If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathen do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”
    This teaches that we should not fight with our enemies. If we are true believers of Christ, our families and we should be ready to be killed because then we will be in Heaven.
    I believe a Christian nation, as some think the USA is, should not have 2000 nuclear weapons, ready to destroy our enemies – that Jesus taught us to love. If too many of those nuclear weapons are used, we could destroy all of God’s creation on this planet.
    Do you think Jesus would want our country to spend almost as much money on weapons than all of the other countries in the world combined?
    Shouldn’t we care for the poor and minorities who continue to be harmed and held back by the powerful people in this country? Shouldn’t we do so much more to guarantee that Black children can read before they graduate from high school? Many school districts that are run by White school boards allow minority students to advance in grades without learning anything.
    Jesus came to deliver justice and fairness. He did not come to grant permission for indulgent living, nor did He come to lavish goodies upon His disciples. Our North American extravagance robs people around the globe of their very lives. Jesus asked us to even the score, not deepen the disparity. Throughout the whole of Scripture, I cannot think of a subject that is returned to more frequently than that of justice for the oppressed—which would especially include the poor. It matters so much that in the parable of the sheep and the goats (see Matthew 25:31-46), those going to Heaven and those going to Hell are not separated by whether or not they said the sinner’s prayer—they are separated by whether or not they took care of the poor and marginalized. Jesus tells us that those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and care for the sick and imprisoned will be welcomed into eternal life.

    ————————————————-
    Excellent points!
    Of course, Christiany is not under the Law of Moses. That was for the Israelites, so an eye for an eye was to keep law and order in israel, not for worldwide christians.
    To take it a step further. At what point would Jesus agree with killing? With bombs destroying millions { like Hiroshima } or with killing one man-perhaps of the same religion as you, with a gun in a war?
    Do we follow Jesus teachings and example to an extent that we set? Or all the way?
    Would Jesus kill for any reason? Does he OK what amount of killing Americans have always been ready to do? Politics and patriotism aside-would Jesus arm himself to protect his country and kill as needed?
    Should our churches continue to bless war efforts, or should their job [as directed by Jesus own words] be to teach us not to kill and excommunicate us if we kill anyway?

  27. Steve B says:

    Here’s a Bible verse that I find VERY PROVOCATIVE since I often hear people say or assume that Jesus loves everyone. However, if Jesus loved everyone then He would certainly pray for everyone, and yet He doesn’t. Rather Jesus prays for the elect and not for the whole world, He only prays for those chosen by God the Father and given to Him:

    “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. John 17:9

  28. Chuck here in Florida says:

    You are correct. In fact, Mathew 23: speaks of Christians as not all being acceptable and qualifies them-
    20 Really, then, by their fruits YOU will recognize those [men].

    21 “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness.

    24 “Therefore everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does them-

  29. Chuck here in Florida says:

    Chuck here in Florida :You are correct. In fact, Mathew 23: speaks of Christians as not all being acceptable and qualifies them-20 Really, then, by their fruits YOU will recognize those [men].
    21 “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness.
    24 “Therefore everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does them-

    ——————————————————————-

    After reading my quick post, i’m not so sure I was clear?
    In this scripture Jesus was clearly speaking about those who refer to themselves as “Christians” because he said they called him “Lord, Lord” and these are also people who would consider themselves “active Christians” as they said they were doing a number of “works” in Jesus name.
    But that was not what counted with Jesus, what counted was doing what he had instructed them to do and this is something that the “wide road” of so called “christians” will not do, causing themselves to be rejected by Jesus. That is a command-
    16 If, now, I am declaring the good news, it is no reason for me to boast, for necessity is laid upon me. Really, woe is me if I did not declare the good news! 17 If I perform this willingly, I have a reward; but if I do it against my will, all the same I have a stewardship entrusted to me.
    That’s just one thing Jesus performed and taught his followers to do that disqualifies most “would be christians” today.

  30. Steve B says:

    Thanks for your response Chuck. The Matthew verse is difficult because “by their fruits you will recognize them”. But how can that be since we are all sinners with lots of sinful fruit?

    Matthew 7
    You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

    Unless it’s talking about the fruit of the Spirit…. that you will know them by the fruit of the Spirit or lack of His fruit in their lives:

    Galatians 5
    16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
    19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

    Ephesians 5
    8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

    I have a born again Spirit from God which cannot sin:

    John 3:9
    Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

    And yet I am still living in unredeemed flesh which constantly lusts after sin and commits sin. The Galatians verse above states “and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

    When I look at my life I see the fruit of the Spirit and a longing to be like Christ and pleasing/acceptable to the Father, but I also see my flesh which leads me to indulge in all kinds of pleasurable sin. And so I see my born again self and it’s fruit, and also see my flesh and it’s fruit making me a “worker of lawlessnes”. As a born again believer I can relate to this internal spiritual war:

    Romans 7
    21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

    It all makes for a very frustrating life here on earth! Until our flesh is redeemed we’re either frustrating the lusts of our flesh or frustrating our born again Spirit. Makes me long for Christ’s return:

    Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
    Rev 22:20

    Another interesting thing about the Matthew 7 verse is that the “workers of lawlessness” were all pointing to their “works” and not to their “faith” in Christ to save them:

    22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

    But our faith is a gift from God, it is His work in us, causing us to believe in Jesus and trust in the Father. What is the will of the Father in this verse?:

    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

    I believe that the “will of My Father” is that His elect children come to hear the gospel and receive saving faith in Christ and His sacrifice for all the untold billions of sins of their flesh:

    Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:29

  31. jimmy says:

    wow, if you are going to water down the words of Christ to this degree then you might as well not even believe. If he wanted say insult he would say insult, not create some sort of riddle where you have to think, gee, he said right cheek, and most people are right handed, so that means a backhand, which of course means insult. again, he would have just said the word insult. why would he leave so much room for misunderstanding? and consider this. when the soldiers came to put him to death he could have resisted. he could have used a sword or spear, or he could have fled. but he didnt. by his actions we can plainly see how to act. offer no resistence. thats what im going to do. the rest of you can burn in hell.

  32. Dan Lacich says:

    Jimmy,
    So because I interpret the verse in the way I do you think I will burn in hell? All I can suggest is that you keep reading the BIble and ask how is it that people are saved.
    Dan

  33. Chuck here in Florida says:

    jimmy :wow, if you are going to water down the words of Christ to this degree then you might as well not even believe. If he wanted say insult he would say insult, not create some sort of riddle where you have to think, gee, he said right cheek, and most people are right handed, so that means a backhand, which of course means insult. again, he would have just said the word insult. why would he leave so much room for misunderstanding? and consider this. when the soldiers came to put him to death he could have resisted. he could have used a sword or spear, or he could have fled. but he didnt. by his actions we can plainly see how to act. offer no resistence. thats what im going to do. the rest of you can burn in hell.

    I don’t think the other poster is “watering down” what Jesus said. It’s just common sense. Jesus wasn’t suggesting we not reasonably protect ourselves or our loved ones. The scripture is clearly about not responding in kind, to an insult – a slap on the cheek.

  34. Chuck here in Florida says:

    Dan Lacich :Jimmy,So because I interpret the verse in the way I do you think I will burn in hell? All I can suggest is that you keep reading the BIble and ask how is it that people are saved.Dan

    Dan, you are certainly correct. In fact, you obeyed Jesus’ command when you took Jimmy’s slap on the cheek “the rest of you can burn in hell.” without replying in kind. You spoke kindly to him and “turned the other cheek”

  35. Dan Lacich says:

    Jimmy,
    Just another thought. You seem to be very willing to accept a beat-down from someone, most likely not a Christian and turn the cheek to them. But when a fellow follower of Christ has a different exegetical take on a passage of scripture you pronounce anathema and condemn them to the flames of hell. Do you see the incongruity here?
    Dan

  36. Alan Beckett says:

    Context, context, context!
    Although the interpreting being struck on the cheek could and probably is referring to an insult we cannot discard the rest of the passage… This whole passage is about reinterpreting what it means to be a follower of the One True God. Jesus really raises the stakes so to speak. Where the teachers of the law would say love your neighbor, but hate your enemy… Jesus tells us that that is no better than what pagans do.

    He challenges his audience on several topics… but there is one phrase that I don’t think saw mentioned above… “…do not even resist and evil man.” Talk about tough… it would seem to encourage passivity when it comes to standing up for our rights. The only rights that Jesus seems to be concerned about in his teachings are those who are in need, especially the widow and the orphan.
    When it comes to my rights and my reputation… I trust the Lord to stand up for me… but when it comes to the rights of the oppressed… I truly believe that Jesus asks his followers to step up and take the heat, doing whatever is necessary to set things right in God’s sight… even taking up my cross and dying to my desires and my rights. A tall order, but an order that He gives us the power to walk out though the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

    As with so many of the teachings of the Bible, they (He) expect us to put aside our pride and our knowledge and accept and believe what God is teaching us even when it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Gondi said, “Christians have been given the dynamite to transform the world, but they treat it like literature” Which is to say we would rather argue about it than put it into practice!

  37. Pepa says:

    Jesus is the one and only Savior and God of this world. Therefore it is good to fully understand His commands and act on them accordingly… I know it’s like we are Christians or something ;) Whatever you do, do it for Him :) Loved this passage..it’s one of those that stings while you read it but is worth pursuing

  38. Charlie says:

    Wow! God works in such mysterious ways. I was researching for my own blog the Bible verse which speaks of turning the other cheek and ran across your blog. Our pages our very similar. Keep up the great work of spreading His good word. I look forward to reading more from you and would welcome you anytime to stop by my site. http://www.charlieparish.wordpress.com. In Him, Charlie

  39. Maria S says:

    Thank for the post! I really needed this for my class today…I have to talk on the racial society when Malcolm X rose onto the scene. I am a Christian and I want to represent the Lord in every way possible. I think this will really help me out!!

  40. Dan Lacich says:

    Maria,
    So how did it go in class?
    Dan

  41. luna says:

    hello everyone,
    i just designed a poster/quiz about “LOVE YOUR ENEMIES”.
    i want to share it with you, hoping you like it.

    feel free to share it and download it – in case you do that, just remember to quote or link my page, i would really appreciate that.

    you can find the poster here http://www.lunamargherita.com/2011/04/do-you-really-want-to-change-world.html

    hope you like it

    warmest regards

  42. Deron D. Wilson says:

    I’ve searched different sites just to get a clear understanding of this particular verse, and I must say that I’ve found this to be the best site and answer to this passage. I am a Pastor and I had an idea of what the scripture meant,but I was just looking for clarity and I thank God for this site, and I thank God because my thoughts were in line with this site.

  43. Nikole says:

    My only thought on this is….if you have studied ancient cultural customs…and several religions carry them thru today… because of ‘wiping’ ourselves w/ our right hand…people never touch …shake…or anything to someone else w/ their right hand…. it spread disease. But, if I didnt know that I would like your theory.

  44. Dan Lacich says:

    Nikole,
    Actually what you say about the right hand, you have it backwards. It is the left hand that is the sanitary hand in cultures around the world, including the middle east. The reason for this is that 90% of the world is right handed and naturally use that hand for eating, touching others, greeting etc. So the left is the sanitary hand.
    Dan

  45. Mark Smith says:

    The post and the comments seem to contain much confusion. To me this isn’t because of poor reasoning, but is instead the natural result of flawed English translation. The original Greek (and of course, the original Hebrew it was written in, if we had it) does not depart from Torah teaching. What the passage actually says is as follows (with several more verses thrown in for context, and explanations in parentheses):

    Matt 5
    38 You heard that it was spoken: “An eye for of an eye, and a tooth for of a tooth” (Torah
    judgment decreed by Y’havah for intentional injury between those in the Covenant; see Exo 21:23-25, Lev 24:19-20, Deut 19:15-21).
    39 I also, I am saying to you not to stand opposed to this with evil
    (do not oppose this Torah decree), rather, anyone that you shall slap on the right side of you [on]
    the jaw, let yourself turn back to him likewise the same as well (if you strike a brother of the
    Covenant, you are to willfully allow him to strike you the same in return as fair justice).
    40 Likewise with the one determining for you to be judged (decided in court), even to take the
    blanket of you, let yourself send [it] forth to him, even the outer garment (if you caused a loss to a
    brother of the Covenant, willfully replace it, like for like; see Exo 22:14, 26-27, Lev 6:4, Num 5:6-7).
    41 Likewise anyone that you shall compel to be a courier [for] one thousand paces, let
    yourself be among of his undergoing a second [thousand paces] (willfully help the same in return).
    42 To the one asking you, let yourself be giving. And the one choosing from of you to
    borrow for himself, let yourself not be turned away (willfully keep the Torah command to lend in
    need, without any interest charges, to your brother within the Covenant; see Deut 15:7-11, 23:19-20).
    43 You heard that it was spoken, “You shall love your neighbor” (see Lev 19:15-18). But shall
    you hate the one hateful of you?
    44 I also, I am saying to you, let yourselves be loving the ones hateful of you (this does not
    preclude wars or self defense; see Exo 23:4-5, Pro 24:17-18, 25:21-22). Let yourselves be speaking
    well of the ones themselves who are cursing you. Let yourselves be doing good to the ones
    hating you and be praying yourselves over who are the ones insulting you and pursuing you, 45
    in the manner that you may yourselves become sons of the Abba of you who is in with the
    heavens; because the sun of his, it is rising upon evil ones and good ones, and he is sending rain
    upon tzadeek ones (the righteous who keep Torah) and unrighteous ones (see Psa 1:1-6, 119:53). =
    46 For whosoever, if you may love the ones loving you, what reward are you having?
    Nothing indeed, even the ones tax collectors, they are doing this same thing. 47 And whosoever,
    if you may yourselves embrace the friends of you only, what are you doing exceedingly
    abundant? Nothing indeed, even the ones tax collectors, they are doing in this way.
    48 Accordingly, you shall yourselves be perfect (without blemish; what is complete in accord
    with truth; one who is undefiled according to the Torah; see Deut 18:13), just as the Abba of you
    who is in with the heavens, he is being perfect.” (HCB Hebrew Context Bible)

  46. Rik Boland says:

    Hey

    That dude that smacked ya man, that behavior puts me in a bad mood. I total agree with you and I am sure that you will agree that war just/unjust is murder and that is wrong and Jesus said don’t kill. So shame to our countries that are in war with others as it just vanity, greed, vanity, greed and more ugly vanity.

    This being said, if any one beat up on me, if I could I could I would restrain them perhaps with pre practiced break away techniques, dancing or some thing else stupid but I have respect for myself and would defend myself to a point that I could naturalized the danger this I would choose to do out of respect to myself and the person afflicting the offense as I desire them to see my/our/their humanity.

    What would the bible say to this?

    Shalom

    Rik

  47. [...] the society that spawned the historical Jesus and/or the writer of Matthew 5:39, the concept means pretty much the opposite: a demand to be treated with respect as an equal – it’s appealingly [...]

  48. Brad D. says:

    I disagree with your interpretation in on a few accounts. think your statement that “our dignity comes because we are made in the image of God. Our significance comes because we are called by Jesus to be world changers” overlooks that all men fall short of the glory of God, that “none are righteous, no not one”. Man is wicked and sinful by nature. Thus, there is no “dignity” for man, even a saved man, in my opinion, and certainly not before God. Dignity is akin to pride, and we know where pride leads. I suppose one can be humble yet dignified, so I am not all to sure on this point; however, I just wanted to state my doubt here.

    On this point, however, I am more confident. We are not called to be world changers. There is no changing the world. The world will remain wicked and will end as according to Revelations. The world is of the devil, the spirit is of God. We can only hope to lead SOULS to change and seek God (first, with our own soul), not the world. Our reward is not in this world, but the next. We are not called to turn this world into a Christian world. That will be done after the Second Coming.

    Lastly, I do not agree with your overall interpretation. We are to receive the blows willingly. We are not even to try to avoid them, just as Jesus did not try to avoid them. Jesus makes it clear that we will be persecuted and ridiculed for following Him and he only exhorts to look to Him for strength to withstand the persecution and ridicule.

    Though not in the Bible (as far as I know) Ingatius said this:

    “Now I begin to be a disciple. I care for nothing, of visible or invisible things, so that I may but win Christ. Let fire and the cross, let the companies of wild beasts, let breaking of bones and tearing of limbs, let the grinding of the whole body, and all the malice of the devil, come upon me; be it so, only may I win Christ Jesus!”

  49. Caleb says:

    Wow… I never realized how many people want to justify their sins by blaming the old nature! Good thing I’m set free from it!

  50. Dan Lacich says:

    Dear Brad
    Thank you for your response. You are correct that all men fall short of the glory of God. We are sinners. But I must disagree that there is no dignity for man. Even though we are sinners, we are still made in God’s image. That image is tainted by sin but it is real none the less. Dignity because we are made in God’s image is not about pride at all. Pride comes from ourselves. We are given dignity from God as a gift. That should be humbling rather than pride building. When God made us in His image in Genesis 1 it means He made us as his representative and vice-regent over creation. In the New Testament, Paul speaks of us as ambassadors for Christ. Again we are God’s representatives in the world. There is a dignity to that. By dignity I mean the respect or honor associated with an important position. We are to respect and honor one another as people made in God’s image. If for no other reason than because the way one treats the image bearer is a reflection on what one thinks of the original, the maker of the image.

    As to the point of not being world changers, I must strongly disagree. Jesus clearly commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations. That is world changing. We are also called to be salt and light and practice our good deeds before men so that they give praise to our heavenly Father. That is world changing. We are told to pray “thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. That is a world changing prayer. Everything about following Christ in this life is about change. It is about changing me more and more into a Christ-like person, conformed into His image.

    On the last point. I agree that we are to take whatever persecution comes our way as a result of our faith in Christ. My point on this passage is that is does not deal with that issue. It deals with the personal insults that come our way and we are to take those insults willingly. This verse does not speak to getting beat up for the faith or embracing persecution. Other parts of the Bible do. So your overall point about suffering for Jesus is correct and I have written other posts to support that. However, an accurate exegesis of this passage would show that it does not deal with that issue.

    I look forward to hearing from you
    In Christ
    Dan

  51. James Nichols says:

    At that time, in the Middle East, your right hand was reserved for touching food at a common table. Your left hand was only used for cleansing yourself. Didn’t matter whether you were left- handed or not. Thus, if you slapped someone you considered inferior, you would never use your right hand. Jesus isn’t suggesting that you invite someone to strike you over and over. He is describing a method of passive resistance that challenges the aggressor to treat his victim as an equal.

  52. EMERALD MORGAN says:

    We also need to becareful when other people try to instigate the whole thing, they will try to puff you up, just to see what you would do.

    Not only that but Jesus way works better “turning the other cheek” people do see it as a weakness but it is not, as a matter of fact it protects you. When this person raise his or her voice, you do the same and guess what this individual pulls out a gun or a knife and kill you. And most fights are really avoidable.

    people ask me why i never got into a fight, i told them because it is avoidable, just walk away, leave them to thier foolishness

  53. [...] I’d like, to my shame. In Matthew 5:39 it talks about turning the other cheek (i love this) https://provocativechristian.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/provocative-bible-verses-turn-the-other-cheek/  Imagine if this were how we responded this week. This would have fizzled out like a match in down [...]

  54. monica says:

    This is a very important topic to me personally. This will help me in my everyday life and how to deal with situaion that can or will get hostel. You can go to http://www.hglm.org for futhure information on turning the other cheek. Our podcast which is called the truth will be avaiable this friday 24, august.
    feel free to leave any comments or question.

  55. Rich S says:

    It’s sad to see so many people who call themselves Christian buying into this interpretation. Turning the cheek is also discussed in Luke 6:29, and there’s no mention of a right cheek. It only says cheek, which means that the tortured logic of the slap being an insult that must be confronted can’t be the point of the message. This prideful stance contradicts the context of everything else Jesus taught in both the Matthew & Luke passages. Read all of Luke 6, but a few highlights are below.

    – Love your enemies
    – do good to those who hate you
    – bless those who curse you
    – pray for those who mistreat you

    Jesus said to humble yourself, not demand respect & dignity. What was he teaching when he washed his disciples’ feet? Look up the history of what that meant.

  56. Rich S says:

    I have one other thought as a follow up to my comment above. I’m disappointed that no one else pointed out the parallel passage in Luke that omitted the key “right” cheek distinction. We should be like the Bereans, who Paul praised because they “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)

    This “doctrine of dignity” is fleshly and worldly and clearly not what Jesus taught, if you read the whole context in Matthew 5 & Luke 6. Read Luke 14:7-11 for another example. (HINT: it ends with this verse–
    “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”)

  57. Rich S says:

    I can’t retract my posts, so I need to eat a little crow. After reading Dan’s blog entry more carefully, I realize he wasn’t saying what I thought. Let me quickly explain.

    There’s a view being promoted that goes something like this: A slap on the right cheek was backhanded and what you did to women, children, or slaves to assert dominance. Instead of accepting this insult, you should turn your other cheek as a way of demanding to be struck with a fist or open hand, so as to be treated with dignity as an equal. It’s all about pride, which God hates.

    I was looking for pages with a comments section to see people’s responses. After seeing a number of these pages saying the same thing, I saw Dan talking about the significance of the right cheek, disrespect, & dignity and thought that’s where he was going. While I still think Luke 6:29 shows that we shouldn’t read anything into the right cheek, I’ll accept that a slap on any cheek could be an insult, and I think Dan’s response to an insult is Biblical.

    Sorry for my unwarranted harsh responses, Dan.

  58. Dan Lacich says:

    Rich
    Thanks for your clarification. I was wondering how to respond to you since I thought we were saying much the same thing. I would be happy to delete the two prior posts for you if you want.
    Your point about Luke not including the “right” cheek is important to note from the standpoint that any striking that is done to demean us should be handled in a Christ-like way. However, the fact that Jesus includes the detail of the right cheek in the Sermon on the Mount should not be dismissed. Those types of details are often significant in scripture.

    Dan

  59. HP says:

    TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK
    Matthew 5:38-42 – You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” 39But I say unto you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two. 42Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

    The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) has always been considered one of the most beautiful and moving portions of Scripture. Well, no wonder! The words were spoken by our Lord Himself. What a tremendous effect the Church would have on this unbelieving world if we growing Christians practiced more of the principles given to us in this wonderful sermon.

    But how do we practice these principles? There are some “impossible” commandments in this part of the Word of God. Look, for example, at Matthew 5:38-42. Does this mean that I am to “turn the other cheek” anytime someone punches me in the face? Can’t I defend myself and “resist him who is evil”? Can’t I at least run away and not expose my “other cheek”?! And what about the matter of the shirt and coat in verse 40? You mean to say that if someone rips off my car radio, I should give him my car as well? You’ve got to be kidding! As to going two miles instead of one (v41), I’ve got to disobey here. People are always twisting my arm and manipulating me. If I didn’t draw the line somewhere I wouldn’t even have time to read my Bible and pray! And certainly the Lord doesn’t expect me to give to everyone who comes along with a hand out (v42). Why, there are so many “con men” and “beggars” in my dorm that I’d be wiped out overnight if I put that principle into practice.

    Does the above reasoning sound like your own thought patterns when confronted with such demanding directives from the Lord? It’s only natural to think this way. But is this the way we are to take these difficult statements in the Sermon on the Mount? What is the correct interpretation of this Scripture and what is the proper application of it today?

    One of the primary rules of biblical interpretation is that you never try to figure out what a particular passage means without taking into account the surrounding Scripture. That is, you don’t pull Scripture out of context. The context of Matthew 5:38-42 is a discourse by Christ (Matthew 5:17-48) within the Sermon on the Mount on the Old Testament Law of Moses. The most pressing questions in the minds of those who heard the new teachings of our Lord would obviously concern these Old Testament laws which were their way of life. Was Jesus setting aside the Law of Moses? Was He advocating a radical departure from the mind of God revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures?

    The Lord squelched any such idea in verses 17-20. He had not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets (the Old Testament Scriptures). God’s standards of righteousness do not change and neither do his plans as revealed in the Scriptures. And not only that–Christ had actually come to “fulfill” or make complete the whole scope of the Law and the Prophets. He alone could explain and reveal the true and full meaning of the Scripture. Therefore His interpretation and teaching of the Law of Moses would be the correct view–and not the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees who were the self-proclaimed teachers of the Law. Christ’s understanding of the requirements of the Law of Moses would be the interpretation which God originally intended.

    The fact that the scribes and Pharisees misunderstood the requirements and intentions of the Law underlies our Lord’s statement in verse 20. Their view was far below the divine view. Over the years the Mosaic legislation had been so twisted and distorted, misinterpreted and misapplied, “watered down” and “added to” that the scribes and Pharisees of Christ’s day were way off target in their ideas of following the Law (see Matthew 15:1-3). They were so far off that they gave equal authority to their traditions, and some of them actually thought that they were keeping the righteous requirements of the Law by their outward show of religiosity. In order to correct these wrong views, the Lord Jesus selected six areas of the Law of Moses which had been misinterpreted through the oral tradition of the scribes and Pharisees. These areas are covered in verses 21-48. Murder, adultery, divorce, vows, retaliation and neighbors all needed reinterpretation because of the gross misunderstandings of the Pharisees.

    It is significant that the Lord Jesus does not begin His comments on each of the six areas with the words, “It is written…” but rather with the words, “You have heard that it was said…” (vs21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43). In other words, it is not just the particular Scripture that our Lord has in mind but the wrong ideas which had built up around that Scripture as well. For example, He says (v43), “You have heard it was said, ‘You should love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’” To “love your neighbor” was certainly part of the Mosaic legislation (Leviticus 19:18), but to “hate your enemy” was certainly not in the Law of Moses. That was part of the faulty oral tradition of the scribes and Pharisees. The Lord goes on (v44) to correct this misunderstanding by telling them to love their enemies and pray for those who persecuted them. The Lord Jesus was not now changing the Law or adding something new to the Law, but rather interpreting the Law’s requirement to “love your neighbor” as God had originally intended this command.

    In verses 38-42 the Lord deals with what has become known as the lex talionis (law of retaliation). The scribes and Pharisees had taken this area of the Law and twisted it to justify selfish acts of personal vengeance. “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” was never given by God for personal vengeance and retaliation. Each time this law is mentioned in the Old Testament (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21) the context is civil justice–not individual “tit-for-tat”. “Let the punishment fit the crime” was God’s directive for civil law and order. The court could not gouge out the eye of a defendant who had merely given someone a black eye. The public magistrate could not pull every tooth out of the man who punched his boss in the mouth! This law was given by God as a civil restrictive measure and not as a personal permissive liberty. But over the years this law was more and more misinterpreted and used by the scribes and Pharisees to carry on their personal vendettas.

    The Lord comes down hard on the scribes and Pharisees (and us, too!) at this point. He explains that in the areas of personal relationships we are to “turn the other cheek” and “go the extra mile”. How far do we carry the principle of “turning the other cheek” in application of this Scripture to our personal relationships today? Certainly to the point of not allowing ourselves the “delight” of personal retaliation. The attitude of “I’ll get you back” and “Wait till I get my hands on you” is not an option for the growing Christian. God promises us that He will take care of these problems in His own way (see Romans 12:19).

    But what about the situation in which a thief breaks into my house, beats up my family and cleans out the place completely? Should I “turn the other cheek” and not try to defend myself and my family? Should I “go the extra mile” and show him the $100 hidden on the top closet shelf and then help him to load up his truck with my furniture? No, of course not! Remember that the context of this Scripture concerns personal revenge and retaliation, not the matter of defense in face of an assault or attack, and not the matter of justice where civil laws are broken. Here is a case where a thief must be brought to justice before the state. The state, under God, is still to operate on the principle of “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”. Our Lord in no way changed that principle of civil law. You can imagine the crime and chaos that would result if our civil courts operated on the principle of “turning the other cheek”. And remember that we are citizens of the state as well as citizens of heaven. We have the responsibility to see that civil justice is carried out in reference to the thief. We would be irresponsible before the state (as well as encouraging evil) if we were to “just forget about it”. What about the person who knocks at my door and asks for a contribution for himself or for some agency which is undeserving or a cult which is unscriptural? Here again the context of Scripture is so important to the proper understanding of the Lord’s command in verse 42. The Lord is not advocating that we become easy marks and indiscriminately give of our time and money to every freeloader who comes along (see 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12). He is speaking against the type of selfish and miserly spirit that was exhibited by the scribes and Pharisees. When confronted with persons in real need they gave grudgingly and reluctantly–if they gave at all. This type of giving is not to characterize the growing Christian. We are to help all who ask for our assistance as long as their request is not contrary to the Scripture.

    We see, then, that when interpreted properly the “impossible” commands of Matthew 5:38-42 are possible. Possible, however, does not mean easy. Many times the obedient Christian will be “stepped on” and yet we are called to “take it” rather than retaliate. When someone takes advantage of us or insults us or talks behind our back or excludes us we are to “turn the other cheek” and not retaliate. It may hurt us (v39), cost us (v40), inconvenience us (v41), or exhaust us (v42). There will always be those borderline cases where we must make decisions–sometimes very painful. But even in those situations which are not strictly “turn the other cheek” cases, remember that mercy has always been God’s rule of thumb.

    This essay may be forwarded or printed and freely distributed with acknowledgment.

  60. [...] Provocative Bible Verses: Turn the Other Cheek. [...]

  61. emma middleton says:

    please can you let me know if you believe a woman who is being attacked by a man should defend herself? pleaselook at
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/602042_323183224460097_2012532585_n.jpg

    thank you :)

  62. Dan Lacich says:

    Emma,
    Absolutely. In fact I think if anyone is being physically attacked you have the right to defend and protect yourself. I strongly believe the point of what Jesus is talking about has nothing to do with allowing yourself to be physically abused. He is talking about being humiliated with the proverbial slap in the face, not someone punching and beating you.

  63. Angela says:

    I just want to thank you for this post, and of course the discussions to follow. In my life, when I need inspiration or guidance from God I have only to look. There have been times when I have simply opened the Bible to a random page searching for solace in God’s word and have always found that solace in the first scripture my eyes happened upon. This time, it was a simple google sentence that led me here. I am currently in a situation where I am struggling with guilt over turning the other cheek because it involves my 10 year old daughter. She is being disrespected, bullied, and treated so harshly it breaks my heart. The situation calls for us to simply let these people sling their hateful words and accusations and walk away. However, today’s society stresses that we are weak when we don’t fight back – when we do not try to “get back” at those hurting us. This is such a painful lesson for my daughter and myself – one I wish that my daughter didn’t have to face at only 10. But I am proud of her, and she is learning so much through this trial. She is growing strong and wise through it all. I am so heartbroken this evening as I struggle with what I WANT to do – which is fight dirty and try to hurt these people as they are hurting us. I have been unable to sleep… believing in some part of myself that by not fighting back I am betraying my daughter. So in desperation, I found this site and read this post and found exactly what it was that I was searching for. Confirmation that turning the other cheek is exactly the right thing to do. It is so unbelievably difficult to turn the other cheek when someone I love so desperately is being hurt. However, I do know that I am giving my daughter a much greater gift in not retaliating. I cannot change these people. God is and will fight all of our battles for us. The “revenge” is God’s business, and I know that He will take care of it for us. I don’t have to be around to see it…. it may not even happen in my lifetime, but I know that God is fighting for us. So I will turn around and walk away from these people and their evil tongues and hateful attitudes. And by doing so, I am teaching my daughter how to be the exact opposite of those who hurt her so much. I am teaching her such a valuable lesson that I, and adult, struggle to learn.

    So… thank you for posting this 3 years ago…. it was exactly what I needed tonight. I may have to come back and read it many times over, though…. I still struggle with that guilt that I am betraying my daughter by not tearing into these people with all I have…. for not fighting for her…. but I suppose could look at it in the way that the path I am choosing is far more difficult than lashing out… therefore I am fighting for her… I’m fighting against my human nature, against society’s standards, and the “norm” to teach her the way that God wants us to live…. that fight is far more worthy than putting a few nasty, hateful people in their place.

  64. davlin says:

    To turn the other cheek, to me, says not to seek vengeance. For violence or insult begets more of the same and often spirals exponentially.
    And worse, vengeance creates a vengeful spirit, which is evil – negative and destructive.
    Evil is not the opposite of divine, but the path away from the divine; for we are all good and evil, some more so than others on both sides.
    So while it is right to defend oneself (eye for an eye), it is wrong to cross that line into vengeance (eyes for an eye).

  65. Philip Chance says:

    Have you read “The Powers that Be” by Dr. Walter Wink? Almost an identical reaction.

  66. Reblogged this on Creative Reverend.com and commented:
    Let me know what you think and if you agree.

  67. davlin says:

    To Philip Chance. A quick read after a search for The Powers that Be by Dr. Walter Wink, showed me such ideas are the current consciousness from which we all draw from.
    But I really formed my thoughts of good versus evil with the analogy of there being no essence of energy in the stasis of cold, just a lack of heat: In the same way that darkness is but a lack of light, evil is the lack of good.
    More to my original reply – I should have stated that insults and disrespect are emotional violence and to act aggressively to such only causes unhealthy stress. To work oneself into an emotional angry wreck is not healthy, and, as is wont of life’s lessons, I experience this challenge with a boss for whom I work.
    So it seems my life’s ponderance is related to the ‘meek shall inherit the earth’ passage. Meek inherit the earth because its as low as being trodden into the ground.

  68. farai says:

    this is good revelation

  69. TLO says:

    I totally agree with what HP said on (October 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm) very intelligent answer!

  70. Gary says:

    It is a beautiful quote and exposes itself throughout life. I would choose to not label our response to it as Christian. Neither would I label it any other religious mindset. Labeling separates. The person who treats another improperly is no less loving or caring than the person who is receiving the slander. Therefore why label them bad, unworthy, non-Christian, non-Jewish, non-Buddhist non-anything. Doing this creates an invisible barrier of you against me. Instead forgive them. By turning the other cheek Jesus was implying that to live a spiritual life, free ourselves from the mind made creations of separateness and release any reason not to just love. When we forgive without labeling, we never let our ego mind create suffering. By forgiving and loving, we let go completely without strings attached. We can go on in peace. This does not mean the we are not responsible for our actions. We can forgive, love and still hold on to accountability. Accountability is achieved out of love, not from revenge. It is a natural law in our world, even though situations may not always work out the way we felt they should. Remember, every soul on this planet has made choices that may have hurt others. If God made the universe, it made both good/bad, up/down, left/right, hot/cold. These are the polarities of life. How can you know good if you don’t know bad. How can you know up if you don’t know down and so on. God made everything and everything is precisely what we use to grow spiritually. No labeling necessary. Just knowing we are all one with the source and are one with all. We are not separate from one another, so why treat others that way. Peace and love always…

  71. phlpchance@aol.com says:

    HEy. Thanks, these are good words.

  72. gracerenae says:

    Love this! I actually wrote one on the same topic, Turning the Other Cheek. Very insightful, thanks for the wisdom!

  73. angela says:

    Dan Lacich:

    Thank you for your kind efforts..

    I have been verbally abused most of my life, perhaps because of my timid nature.

    But I feel solace in knowing that God will avenge the wrongs.

    Sincerely,

    Angela

  74. angela says:

    (I am another Angela)

  75. angela says:

    Angela:

    I am so sorry to hear about the bullying of your daughter.

    Take heart in knowing that your daughter loves you..You don’t have to shout at people to prove that to her..

    She is fortunate to have you, and vice versa..

    Angela

  76. mobile games says:

    Nice replies in return of this matter with solid arguments and telling the
    whole thing regarding that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s