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Thread: Turning the other cheek?

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Turning the other cheek?

    This bit of the Bible sometimes provokes contortions among that book's defenders, contortions aimed at proving that this is some brave act of resistance. But examination of that passage's context shows otherwise. It's about not fighting back when someone attacks you.

    From the NIV at biblegateway.com

    Matthew 5:38-47
    38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[h] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    Luke 6:27-36
    7 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    A person who turns their cheek neither gives in nor refuses. The abuser gets what they want, but they aren't really in control.

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    This bit of the Bible sometimes provokes contortions among that book's defenders, contortions aimed at proving that this is some brave act of resistance.
    Citations please.

    But examination of that passage's context shows otherwise.
    I agree.

    It's about not fighting back when someone attacks you.
    I've never heard anyone say otherwise

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    Jesus says this at Luke 6:30-1:
    Give to everyone who begs from you, and if someone takes your belongings, do not seek to get them back. Do to others what you wish them to do to you.

    So, along with nonresistance to violence, the believers are told to submit to theft. Today's Christian Right is -- on the whole -- big on military and anti-crime. Issues?

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    The verse is in harmony with acting to defend someone ELSE
    from theft/assault/murder.

    Technically, we are doing our enemy a favor when we help them avoid sin. (Theft/assault/murder)

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    Today's Christian Right is -- on the whole -- big on military and anti-crime. Issues?
    You'd think so. They are pretty immune to reason, though, unfortunately.

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    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    "Respond ˹to evil˺ with what is best, then the one you are in a feud with will be like a close friend".

    Quran 41:33

    Most likely derived from stories of Jesus. And I'm not aware of any antecedents before Jesus.

    Note that the above goes a step beyond (a) 'turning the other cheek' to doing something good in return for being harmed. It's similar to (b) 'do unto others as you would want them to do unto you' (as is 'turn the other cheek', I think, though not so obviously').

    Both (a) and (b) are components of a life philosophy that can be greatly admired, imo.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

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    Ultimately, it is because vengeance belongs to God. God will take vengeance, so it is needless for us to do so. Moreover, it is an expression of power. As Paul said, in Christ, I know how to abound and how to be abased. It's because, all in this life is vanity. It's because, I have eternal life - not I "may" have it if I'm good, but I am not good and Jesus Christ has died for my sins and I am forever justified by His blood. Therefore, why take any thought for this life? Sometimes you hear stories about a CEO stooping down and doing his low-level employees' jobs for a day. I mean, it's kind of a joke because he does it from a position of power, because he is a have, not a have-not, and he allows himself to be abased only for a short time. As Jesus said of the hypocrites who made a show of their giving, they gave out of their abundance. Likewise, we who are risen with Christ do everything from such a position, as He is reigning as King right now and we are in Him, in His kingdom. We are joint-heirs with Him of the entire universe, and all things are ours. So, as Jesus said, "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." (Matthew 13:12)

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