The 365 Commitment

Turn the Cheek

Jesus had one thing definitely right. It is a major life principle, that is really, really hard to learn. I am still struggling with it. It is the concept of turning the other cheek. The phrase is taken from the recorded sermon called, “the Sermon on the Mount” and says: “whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” This was preceded by the concept of loving your enemies.

I will not tackle the love the enemies thing, but the turn the cheek thing is very interesting. It has spawned some very interesting concepts throughout the modern era. You will find justification for anarchism here, and the non-resistance movement, prison reform, and all sorts of philosophies. However, here is a concept that I like to take from this teaching.

Turn the other cheek does not necessarily mean that when someone hits you, that you expose the other cheek for them to strike you again. I can see how someone could make that interpretation. Perhaps that passive non-resistance is a way to get what you want as it will remove all the passion out of the attacker. Gandhi, MLK, and others definitely used this concept to their advantage.

I think it means something much different. Sometimes when you are faced with an attack, persecution, or other threat perhaps it is best to just walk away. You do not have to fight every battle and you certainly do not have to win every battle. That maybe our thought, someone attacks us, then we must fight back. However, perhaps, it would be to our advantage, or to a greater positive gain for ourselves by simply just turning and walking away. If we are so absorbed by personal pride that we will take on every battle in an effort to win and exert our dominance then we will get more of the same in return. Effectively, by responding to conflict, we get get conflict and lots more of it.

So perhaps, the best thing to do is to focus on forgiveness, helping and loving other people rather then choosing to fight with the angry malicious ones. Focus on the good people, the people that can actually benefit from our help first, the people that can help you. Why is it in our nature to fight the people resisting us? We should instead turn the other cheek and focus on the people we can help and the people that can help us.

Guy Reams

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