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Christian Doormat? Turning the other Cheek

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  • Christian Doormat? Turning the other Cheek

    27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    These verses probably look pretty familiar. Something I've always wondered about is the turning the other cheek part. Does this mean we shouldn't stick up for ourselves and/or what we believe? I realize that Jesus doesn't want us to return evil with another evil. But does that mean we cannot defend ourselves either? Some people just have that mean sort of nature. They thrive off of making others feel inferior. What good does it do to turn the other cheek to that sort when all it accomplishes is a continuation of that behavior on their part and humiliation and shame on yours?

  • #2
    Hi Petey,
    Non violence is always the best path - if possible.

    I got mugged in 7th grade. They got my lunch money, but then wanted to beat me up because it was less then a dollar.
    I reasoned with them: that beating me up would do them no good – as they already had my money and I could not produce any more no matter what they did.
    I got to walk away – a bit shaky, though. (That was BC)

    One thing to keep in mind: Jesus said we would be blessed for enduring evil for His name’ sake.
    "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
    Mat 5:11

    Enduring evil for anything else, may actually be an opportunity to preach the good news to the sinners confronting you.
    On the other hand, one may find that action may be needed to protect others from harm – particularly one’s wife or children.

    However, we are not to trade evil for evil, nor inflict pain for insult.
    It’s a mean world, so be aware of those around you. Avoid situations which will put you and your loved ones in jeopardy.

    Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
    Mat 10:16

    If you do find yourself being attacked, physically or verbally, because of Jesus Christ, be assured that He is with you.
    As He endured suffering for us, we shouldn't be surprised, when it is asked of us - for His sake.

    My best advice.
    Richard

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Petey View Post
      27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

      These verses probably look pretty familiar. Something I've always wondered about is the turning the other cheek part. Does this mean we shouldn't stick up for ourselves and/or what we believe? I realize that Jesus doesn't want us to return evil with another evil. But does that mean we cannot defend ourselves either? Some people just have that mean sort of nature. They thrive off of making others feel inferior. What good does it do to turn the other cheek to that sort when all it accomplishes is a continuation of that behavior on their part and humiliation and shame on yours?
      You certainly have a responsibility to 'stick up for what you believe in' if your faith is in Christ. When Jesus was in court and putting forward the intentions of His Father His reaction to the slap across the cheek was to ask for justification of what had been done. It was necessary to defend the truth concerning His Father's purposes.

      On the other hand when He was personally buffeted He kept silent.

      What Jesus is saying here has nothing to do with not defending the truth. What He is talking about here is our not rising to criticism of ourselves by responding violently. Rather we should recognise that man's insults towards ourselves could be borne with equanimity because we are the King's sons. In other words we should not always be fighting for our personal rights. Our concern should be for the triumph of God's Kingly Rule.

      Nor is He talking about not defending yourself from violence. The cheek was to be turned to the slap of contempt, not to the deliberate attempt to do injury.

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree PetePet,
        I'd like to add to what I said earlier:
        that we should not to even trade insults (against us personally) for insults to the other person.
        Stick up for yourself, but with love.

        Pro 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

        PetePet, could you elaborate on this please?
        The cheek was to be turned to the slap of contempt, not to the deliberate attempt to do injury.
        Thanks.

        Richard

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Richard H View Post
          I agree PetePet,
          I'd like to add to what I said earlier:
          that we should not to even trade insults (against us personally) for insults to the other person.
          Stick up for yourself, but with love.

          Pro 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

          PetePet, could you elaborate on this please?

          (That is on my quote : The cheek was to be turned to the slap of contempt, not to the deliberate attempt to do injury.)

          Thanks.

          Richard
          Well, if someone entered my home with the intention of harming me and my family I would certainly not feel it right to 'turn the other cheek'. (Although I might try to reason with them given the right circumstances). I would be ready to use violence to defend my family. But if they came merely to insult me then I would (hopefully) turn the other cheek.

          Again if a man haphazardly came at me with a knife with the intention of doing me harm I would not turn my cheek to him, I would try either to disarm or kill him.

          It might be different if his action arose out of my preaching the Gospel. Then circumstances would have to be taken into account.

          But one point to bear in mind is that Jesus was probably mainly talking about our reaction to someone's reaction to our preaching of the Gospel, and how we should respond.

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with your assessment, being meek and lowly of spirit doesn't mean letting people walk all over you. You can be these things and still defend yourself and your loved ones or anyone else who may be in danger. Doing nothing to save another person from harm is as bad in God's eyes as if you did the act yourself.
            JESUS CHRIST, often imitated, never duplicated.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Petey View Post
              27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
              Petey,
              Someone striking you on the cheek does not refer to a physical attack as we think of it, but rather an extreme insult in Jewish culture. We are not to return insult for insult, but rather do good things to those who hurt us.

              This does not mean, in a situation of true physical attack, when your life (or another's life) is in danger, and we as Christians are not to defend ourselves.

              I hope that helps.
              "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." -Mahatma Gandhi

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks everyone. I guess I was thinking of the verse more in the sense of a physical attack as opposed to an insult. It still is hard to accept that we should just take even personal insults without retaliation, though. I guess that just takes some getting used to.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, it doesn't mean turning your back either, nor walking away.

                  I love that passsage, the whole thing, because it leaves no room for fear of man. If you're voluntarily and deliberately doing good, over and above what someone like that would expect of you, and obey God instead, then you are now in control of the situation (and God along with you). Its' not a "victimization" passage to me at all that tells us to "take it," but rather to be proactive about how we're going to respond to base human behavior that people who do not know God are going to be throwing our way. It's also against everything the flesh would tell us to do, reactionary fool that it is.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think it means this:
                    If someone hits you randomly. Hit back. (An eye for an eye). If someone takes your money and run- presue them with whatever the law will allow etc etc.

                    BUT

                    If you are witnessing to someone and you start talking about something in depth (like Christian apologetics or whatever) and they hit you by saying ahh thats a load of hogwash, then you overloaded their donkey and you turn the other cheek and lay off them and still be their friend etc. because it was your fault- you just gave them too much information etc at on time.

                    For example: Say you were interested in solving the math equation of 4+4=8 and you just wanted to know what 4+4 equaled. So you come up and you ask me, and I gave you this long algebraic explanation. You would be confused as anything! You only wanted the simple answer! You'd be pretty mad and go off grumbling: Jeez that chick had no idea what she was talking about......
                    The kingdom of God is just like any other kingdom. It must be fought for. - Thomas Becket

                    I don't want to save people. That's not my job. My job is to feed them.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm reading a work by C. T. Craig right now, and he said it was not so much passivity than overcoming evil with love. It would be along the lines of Romans 12:14-21.

                      "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
                      Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary:
                      "If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
                      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
                      In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
                      "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?'
                      And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'"
                      Isaiah 6:8

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I posted this today in another topic, but it applies here.

                        Historically, in the first century slapping someone on the cheek was considered a severe personal insult, similar to flipping someone off today. This was an assault on someone’s pride. Therefore, Jesus is not advocating pacifism, He is speaking against taking revenge in order to protect one’s own pride. "Eye for an eye" was meant to be used as system of recompense for an injury caused to another person. It was a judgment to be carried out by the magistrates. In other words, if you injure a person, the judge would sentence you to compensate that person for the cost of their medical care and any lost wages as a result of the injury you caused. By the time we arrive at the first century, this commandment had been perverted into a justification for seeking personal revenge. It was that distortion of the commandment that Jesus was trying to correct in the verses above. He certain was NOT saying that upholding laws or punishing criminals is wrong.

                        These verses should not be used to endorse pacifism. They do NOT apply to protecting one’s self, family, or defending one’s country. To use these verses and apply them in this context is to misuse them completely.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gpmosely View Post
                          I think it means this:
                          If someone hits you randomly. Hit back. (An eye for an eye). If someone takes your money and run- presue them with whatever the law will allow etc etc.

                          BUT

                          If you are witnessing to someone and you start talking about something in depth (like Christian apologetics or whatever) and they hit you by saying ahh thats a load of hogwash, then you overloaded their donkey and you turn the other cheek and lay off them and still be their friend etc. because it was your fault- you just gave them too much information etc at on time.

                          For example: Say you were interested in solving the math equation of 4+4=8 and you just wanted to know what 4+4 equaled. So you come up and you ask me, and I gave you this long algebraic explanation. You would be confused as anything! You only wanted the simple answer! You'd be pretty mad and go off grumbling: Jeez that chick had no idea what she was talking about......
                          I'm astonished!
                          Hit back and get back what is yours to the fullest extent allowable?

                          But if you are telling someone about God and they are negative about it - then immediately back off?

                          I agree that Bible thumping and speaking over the heads ("in depth") of the unsaved only serves to run them off.

                          Rather than using that approach to begin with, show love and compassion and graciousness.
                          Speak the truth in love and gentleness, then if they reject it - it will be their doing and not the messenger.
                          A gentle approach is more difficult to reproach anyway. You may find not only a listener, but a new saint.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wow

                            I didn't know that before...Hope thanks for explaining, it gets much more clearer.

                            Originally posted by *Hope* View Post
                            I posted this today in another topic, but it applies here.

                            Historically, in the first century slapping someone on the cheek was considered a severe personal insult, similar to flipping someone off today. This was an assault on someone’s pride. Therefore, Jesus is not advocating pacifism, He is speaking against taking revenge in order to protect one’s own pride. "Eye for an eye" was meant to be used as system of recompense for an injury caused to another person. It was a judgment to be carried out by the magistrates. In other words, if you injure a person, the judge would sentence you to compensate that person for the cost of their medical care and any lost wages as a result of the injury you caused. By the time we arrive at the first century, this commandment had been perverted into a justification for seeking personal revenge. It was that distortion of the commandment that Jesus was trying to correct in the verses above. He certain was NOT saying that upholding laws or punishing criminals is wrong.

                            These verses should not be used to endorse pacifism. They do NOT apply to protecting one’s self, family, or defending one’s country. To use these verses and apply them in this context is to misuse them completely.
                            Shinjitsu wa itsumo hitotsu
                            2 Timothy 3:16 Jehovah Jireh Matthew 6:33

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Before I knew the Lord, I was a man of anger, fighting, and revenge. When I came upon these scriptures after becoming a Christian, I found tremendous freedom. I found great happiness in the thought that when someone else wished me harm, I do not have to be overcome by evil and wish it back on them. Through God's grace I no longer have to be overcome by anger and revenge. I can rather respond to it with love, mercy and forgiveness.

                              I think we are much too preoccupied with defending ourselves and our American "rights" and have lost sight of the greatness of returning good for evil. There is a tremendous power in responding to hate with love.

                              Comment

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