Turn the Other Cheek

BrethrenBoy

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After reading the newest blog post on the Catholic Answers website, I have been wondering how the Orthodox understand Christ's command to turn the other cheek. Growing up in Anabaptist tradition, I have always seen it as a call towards nonviolent resistance. The article argues that is hyperbole, and that Jesus himself did not do so in John 18:22-23, and in John 10:31-32, as well as Paul not doing so in Acts 23:3. How to the Orthodox understand this?
 

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Bump:

I'm very interested in this.  My priest and I had a fairly recent conversation concerning loving your enemies and such. . .as and I am a little confused about it. 

Sometimes there is a time when you do not turn your cheek or love your enemy? 
 

Maria

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quietmorning said:
Bump:

I'm very interested in this.  My priest and I had a fairly recent conversation concerning loving your enemies and such. . .as and I am a little confused about it.  

Sometimes there is a time when you do not turn your cheek or love your enemy?  
Sometimes, you cannot turn your cheek.

For example, if a woman is in an abusive domestic situation, and her husband is an out-of-control alcoholic, if she were to turn her cheek, she could very well be killed, and her little children could also be killed.  Nevertheless, in those cases, that woman is called to love the one who is abusing her.  Love in this sense means praying that her husband or ex-husband will be enabled to accept the grace that God is giving him, to repent, and to enter Paradise. This is the greatest love she can have for another even if it means setting firm boundaries and never seeing him again.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

This reminds me of the countless stories that have made newspaper headlines of Christian women who have embraced the man who has killed their daughters and then asked the judge not to sentence these convicted killers to death. These courageous and truly Christian women know the meaning of forgiveness and love.

If we do not forgive others, but hold a continuous grudge, it does not help us or the person who might have injured us. If we can forgive others, then not only are we set free from the stress of holding a grudge that might cause us to come down with cancer, but also we have set the other person free.  Yes, it takes more grace to forgive a person especially when they do not even want forgiveness, but when they experience that act of forgiveness, it could be a life-changing event for them, as they might be able to ask for forgiveness in return.

There was a woman in my previous church who irritated a lot of people. She was emotionally ill as she had been abused by her two ex-husbands, one of whom had killed her unborn twin children. She was trying desperately to forgive this man, but could not. Whenever she had offended anyone in the parish, she could not ask forgiveness, nor could she forgive anyone, but continued to bear grudges. However, attending Forgiveness Vespers and the Pascha Service were the only times in the entire year where she could forgive and ask forgiveness until she retired into her self-pity and depression.

It would be wonderful if she were to realize that every Sunday Divine Liturgy is a celebration of the Lord's Pascha! Then she could truly be healed. Let us pray for her.

Let us pray for each other that we may forgive those who trespass against us, and that we might be given the grace of repentance so that we can also ask for forgiveness especially during the Fast of the Theotokos.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us!

 

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The understanding of the Sermon on the Mount is pretty universal. It's just that some denominations choose to dwell on it very little, or even spend most of their time promoting political causes. Now, certain individuals (or maybe certain pastors in small-church America) may have cooked up actual doctrine to explain the Sermon away. I know the preterists have a bizarre dismissal of it and the rest of Jesus's recorded teaching. Still, the problem with the Sermon is not in the Christian explication of it, but in the good old evident impossibility of living it out in this world. Romans have their casuistry. Quakers and Mennonites have the CO status FDR granted them. If you ask me, "I, the chief sinner" is as good a resolution to it as any.
 

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I've been thinking about the "turn the other cheek" lately as well.  Mostly because of what's going on in Iraq and Syria.  I'm all for prayer but I'd like a religious leader to say to Christians "stand up for yourselves and fight back" not just "I will pray for you".  I don't think Jesus meant let yourselves go into extinction when he said turn the other cheek.  That's truly absurd, we're not Anabaptists. 
 

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Hamartolos said:
I've been thinking about the "turn the other cheek" lately as well.  Mostly because of what's going on in Iraq and Syria.  I'm all for prayer but I'd like a religious leader to say to Christians "stand up for yourselves and fight back" not just "I will pray for you".  I don't think Jesus meant let yourselves go into extinction when he said turn the other cheek.  That's truly absurd, we're not Anabaptists. 
That is why most of the Christians in Iraq have fled. The aged and infirm were not able to escape.
Even the one who were fleeing were often captured and beheaded. There was no safety granted to them. Those in cars were stopped at the borders and forced to hand over the car keys and all their possessions. They could not take money, jewelry, food, water, or extra clothing.

Even St. Peter fled from Rome, but the Lord appeared to him in a vision and asked him to return where he died as a martyr.

Yet before that time, Sts. Peter and Paul were able to escape from their captors. Remember the angels who led them out of prison?

We must have faith. I talked with my priest today about this. He recommended the writings of St. John of Damascene who lived among Muslims.

 

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Hamartolos said:
I've been thinking about the "turn the other cheek" lately as well.  Mostly because of what's going on in Iraq and Syria.  I'm all for prayer but I'd like a religious leader to say to Christians "stand up for yourselves and fight back" not just "I will pray for you".  I don't think Jesus meant let yourselves go into extinction when he said turn the other cheek.  That's truly absurd, we're not Anabaptists. 
I've never heard of any Orthodox bishop forbidding lay people to defend themselves. If you think it is that easy to battle something like ISIS, you may be testosterone-drunk or fantasizing. Normal people of any religion would flee. None of this invalidates the Sermon on the Mount, which was far from an exposition of human nature.
 

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Porter ODoran said:
Hamartolos said:
I've been thinking about the "turn the other cheek" lately as well.  Mostly because of what's going on in Iraq and Syria.  I'm all for prayer but I'd like a religious leader to say to Christians "stand up for yourselves and fight back" not just "I will pray for you".  I don't think Jesus meant let yourselves go into extinction when he said turn the other cheek.  That's truly absurd, we're not Anabaptists. 
I've never heard of any Orthodox bishop forbidding lay people to defend themselves. If you think it is that easy to battle something like ISIS, you may be testosterone-drunk or fantasizing. Normal people of any religion would flee. None of this invalidates the Sermon on the Mount, which was far from an exposition of human nature.
Exactly, the church does not command us to volunteer for martyrdom.

For example, St. Silouan of Mt. Athos served as the spiritual father to many priests and bishops who were formerly in Russia. Blessed Vladyka Theodore of Old Valaam, when he was a young priest, asked St. Silouan if he could return to the Soviet Union to do missionary work. St. Silouan refused to allow him to do so and said that the torture techniques used in the Soviet Union could possibly break even a saint into releasing information that would lead to the death of even more Christian laity and clergy.
 
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BrethrenBoy said:
After reading the newest blog post on the Catholic Answers website, I have been wondering how the Orthodox understand Christ's command to turn the other cheek. Growing up in Anabaptist tradition, I have always seen it as a call towards nonviolent resistance. The article argues that is hyperbole, and that Jesus himself did not do so in John 18:22-23, and in John 10:31-32, as well as Paul not doing so in Acts 23:3. How to the Orthodox understand this?
Greetings and good health,

It has been some years since posting here and often have been reminded of it. Once again I find myself having access online. The topic of this thread happens to be something always on my mind, so I will offer a few of my study notes, of how I have learned to see this topic.

The Lord taught the Gospel, it is true,
and spoke of times long past
when there was an eye for an eye,
for there is never such equality.
When punitive damages are divvied up
the sufferings are in fact far more multiplied.
This is why forgiveness is such a great key.
Forgiveness offers many healing examples.
Still, some things are not so easily remedied.
The damage inflicted upon Byzantium by the Turks is well known,
there is no doubt that the Greeks went wrong before then.
When Russia was faced with Islamic invasion they acted wiser,
simply giving them a monetary tribute to satisfy.
Sadly, that did not fulfil the desire of the mongoloid Muslims
for in the near future young women were further demanded.
This atrocity could never be accepted, and so in 1380
Prince Dimitry Donskoi approached St. Sergius of Radonezh
who was so humble he refused modern transport
saying the only way of his pilgrimage was by foot.
In seeing the saint the prince admitted they were Christians
and that ordinarily ought never to harm anyone in anyway,
but the family of God was at risk, their virgin daughters.
The saint gave his blessing with these words,
“Go fearless prince and believe in God's help”.
Dimitri's victory at the Battle of Kulikovo was a
momentous one in the history of Russia.
Never again has Russia been under Muslim yoke.
Below, a painting showing the prince’s meeting with the saint.
http://i12.fastpic.ru/big/2010/1123/b7/2965895ce1929dd6fea7f94d4a92a1b7.jpg

From the beginning and throughout all time the people of
God are to rely on Him for all their supply.
In the earliest battles and all the way till our
present day it has never been different.
It is not that we have no battles, but that our
battles are always from the standpoint of the underdog,
if there is an earthly advantage, our foe always has it,
no matter how multiplied that is.
Followers of Christ cannot follow the exponent factor
to its end, for that is only death and destruction.
We are not to rely on the inventions of men, like the atom bomb, or modern-minded judgments of earthly authorities. Remember, the truth always wins out in the end, maybe not immediately, but definitely in time.
There can be situations when love demands that we stick our necks out to protect our family, but we must proceed with utmost careful considerations and never with a greater earthly power on our side. We live by faith, doing the lesser of two paths. This is the only way we can correctly give glory to God.
This manifests one problem with the antichrist mentalities of today, of how it is always growing only in ever multiplying and increasing evils. Just look at recent Russian history with the Bolshevik revolution. Their so-called solution involved the mixing (mixing is understood as evil) of the sickle with the industrial hammer, which is multiplied evil for certain.
I remember growing up as a youngster with revolutionary ideals being strong in music, like that of “Pink Floyd” who wrote poetically on how it is way past the merging of the sickle with the hammer. Today those in society are only Hammers and Hammers marching along. Below is one of the bands illustrations of how people are only hammers. This was decades ago.
http://images2.layoutsparks.com/1/174228/pink-floyd-hammer-tools-1.jpg

The harm to our families is immense and more intense than ever, having gone to such extremes as has never been seen before. It continues and we see how the common people today exist with nothing more than their bare-hands, speaking for myself, and yet I am approached often by “peace-officers” with all manner of murderous weaponry. Who does not see the evil today for what it is?
https://jhj2nq.by3301.livefilestore.com/y2p09Ic-qniNBinOnN2uNo9cfdXHtw07aA8sADAKP9Ibamzvsx2y4wn9enCnvYZ8R20wLs7iIBWGwi0EIcZ_mLWu8F9rnk_W1Nd28_sbJ8fPbA/3.jpg?psid=1

This is how the faithful are actually always on the winning side, by maintaining a less-is-more philosophy we are guiltless and the losers are self-evident. This is somewhat how I see it; this is my current effort to explain some of the issues the faithful have always been faced with.
I would offer more though, like the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston with their Nazi bomb shell bells, should we not touch the unclean thing?
https://crcjxq.by3301.livefilestore.com/y2pQnqK7AgrxMjZSPV4KsH-xW--sxXjAclDq7OuucU6j-N9Kc2avb0oVlnaeo8btGw0l6y21GlEFOo-xBLxRFQHBFnWTHZKoqImL18_sYDLE3o/HTMnaziShells.jpg?psid=1

In my much documentation on this topic there are a few more references I might give. Like the USA first responders to 9-11, and the one year anniversary. The blessing of evil is a curse.
https://crcjxq.by3301.livefilestore.com/y2ph1XkhjUJtjmIQBKadR6j-J0H4DV754lBBTsxqHyHUd5WGgiwcRafOoISaajH7bILfACFQ_RNn3BzqEqCimFTNz2Aam6Rc4RYdKTRCa2IKQk/sept11-2001.jpg?psid=1

Whenever I see any aircraft or spacecraft I personally shout, “Obadiah 4 … Obadiah 4,” because the holy prophet says in that verse that those who fly like an eagle, or make their nest among the stars, that the LORD will bring them down. It is one of the significant, “Thus says the LORD,” places in the Scriptures.

The Russian Orthodox Church for years has regularly assigned clergy to bless the modern military, as can be seen in the following links.
http://byztex.blogspot.com/2013/07/russian-space-center-gets-chaplain.html

This next link shows a submarine being blessed last year by the Russian Orthodox Church.
https://02varvara.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/28-november-2013-a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words-a-sub-gets-a-blessing-in-piter/

Here is a orthodox blessing of the launch of a Soyuz spacecraft, and the new-age words of the prayer go, “For those who fly through outer-space”
http://boingboing.net/2012/07/17/religion-space-and-the-power.html

This one shows orthodox holy water blessing the launch of the space station crew
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/picture-galleries/8970717/Soyuz-spacecraft-blasts-off-carrying-new-crew-members-to-the-space-station.html?image=2

More holy orthodox water on a spacecraft from 4 years ago.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10309106

There are a couple more interesting photos showing the Russian Orthodox Church blessing modern warfare, troops and weapons, here
http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?305159-Your-Mosin-May-Be-Blessed

This last link shows many more photos of the Russian Orthodox Church clergy leading their troops into modern warfare.
http://www.discussionworldforum.com/showpost.php?s=1f2b01e1b3986703867825bbe1ca91d0&p=87534&postcount=20

Going backward in my generations there are Anabaptists and they do have an interesting history. Like with the Amish, who before they all immigrated to the USA were in Russia. At that time the Russian Old Believers were able to find enough in common with them that each group helped the other. No doubt the teaching of ‘turn the other cheek’ arose. One bible commentary I found explains that verse to mean how no Christian can be vengeful about personal individual insults. Further, I know that at the time period those people hearing the words of the Lord understood that the Roman Soldier was an egotistical, self-absorbed narcissist, thinking of himself as a practical god in comparison, demanding homage to be given after the slapping. We ought to resist worshipping man and bowing down to that sort of mentality. Rather than a teaching of non-resistance, it is actually to be understood as a teaching of the Lord on the proper form of resisting evil that it might flee eternally from us.

Often I have heard by those older than myself, and from certain authority figures, that we cannot be violent. To that whole notion there is a big question, because we are all born into a very violent cosmos. For my part I have found that living on a bare-minimum puts us not only on fully peaceful ground, but also is totally substantive; this is the only way true life and love can exist at all. So decades ago I gave away my TVs, cars and books. Years ago I quit official work, as it promotes only evil continually. For as many years I have not had a bank account or talked on a phone, I do not even do snail mail for all its undo violence. It is amazing that I make this posting. This is practically the last thing I do, as it is a language of sorts, it is important to speak up at least once in a while, somehow. My resources are limited these days.

The Lord will return, won’t He be angry?
I am happy to be angry, with controls.

There are of course plenty of other things along this line. So we should follow the admonition to be correcting and rebuking, in season and out of season. I might put more here, but I really do not want to get into a never ending debate as so often seems to happen. Is it possible to make a difference in the way things are going today? Maybe.


Maria said:
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
To rap this all up for now I will comment on The Lord’s Prayer on how we are to forgive ‘as’ we are forgiven. I understand this to mean forgiving as God forgives, Who expects nothing less than a wholehearted life of repentance.

Being soundly an Eastern Orthodox Christian is of paramount importance to me.

forgive



 

BrethrenBoy

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Thinking about this more, I've realized how central peace and nonviolence are to my understanding of Jesus. This probably comes from my Anabaptist background and the fact I come from a long line of Christian pacifists. Is there an official Orthodox teaching on this? And what do you think of the arguments from scripture from the article I mentioned in the OP?
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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The message of the Gospel is difficult but clear. The teachings and example of Our Lord are difficult but clear. The Christian must never intentionally kill. In fact, the Church holds the sanctity of life in such high regard that it requires those who have killed accidentally to confess and do penance before receiving the Eucharist.

Turning the other cheek does not mean that we do not resist evil. It means that we do not resist evil with evil, but rather we resist evil with good. Our Lord's death on the Cross epitomized the redemptive power of confronting evil with self-sacrifice and love for one's enemies.

Peace, nonviolence, love, and forgiveness are not options for the Christian. Whether or not we are all called to martyrdom is not the issue. The issue is that we are all called to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ. And in following Christ we must be prepared for the reality of martyrdom.

God has equipped us with spiritual weapons that we are to employ in this spiritual war (Eph 6). So we intervene with our own lives on behalf of the lives of the innocent and the suffering, but we do not intervene by destroying the lives of others. No persecution or evil in the world today is worse than the persecution and evil that Our Lord's disciples and apostles faced. And how did they respond? They did not respond by taking up arms and waging a violent revolution. Instead, they took up the Cross and died leading others to eternal life.

Sadly, many within the Church have strayed from the clear teachings of Christ regarding peace, nonviolence, and love for enemies. It seems to be a natural but unfortunate tendency for us to rationalize our way out of obedience to the difficult demands of following Our Lord. I for one certainly don't pretend that I have fully embraced these difficult demands.

May God grant us His wisdom, mercy, strength, and grace as we struggle to confront evil while conforming our lives and thoughts to His perfect will.

"Lord have mercy"


Selam
 

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BrethrenBoy said:
Thinking about this more, I've realized how central peace and nonviolence are to my understanding of Jesus. This probably comes from my Anabaptist background and the fact I come from a long line of Christian pacifists. Is there an official Orthodox teaching on this? And what do you think of the arguments from scripture from the article I mentioned in the OP?
Church of the Brethren is a Pietist (Lutheran Quietist) group, not Anabaptist. Although you personally may have a Mennonite bloodline -- many Brethren do. Modern pacifism rarely compares to the sheep-to-the-slaughter tales of Reformation times -- since we simply enjoy many legal protections (conscientious objector status, war-protest protection) someone in 1500s Switzerland wouldn't have dreamed of. Yes, probably an uncle of yours paid a fine or spent some tense hours in jail waiting for night court. Now, I don't doubt your feeling of connection to your roots as you understand them to be, but you shouldn't feel so bound you can't make your own religious decision. Orthodox history is also rich with those that turned the other cheek.
 

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Porter ODoran said:
BrethrenBoy said:
Thinking about this more, I've realized how central peace and nonviolence are to my understanding of Jesus. This probably comes from my Anabaptist background and the fact I come from a long line of Christian pacifists. Is there an official Orthodox teaching on this? And what do you think of the arguments from scripture from the article I mentioned in the OP?
Church of the Brethren is a Pietist (Lutheran Quietist) group, not Anabaptist. Although you personally may have a Mennonite bloodline -- many Brethren do. Modern pacifism rarely compares to the sheep-to-the-slaughter tales of Reformation times -- since we simply enjoy many legal protections (conscientious objector status, war-protest protection) someone in 1500s Switzerland wouldn't have dreamed of. Yes, probably an uncle of yours paid a fine or spent some tense hours in jail waiting for night court. Now, I don't doubt your feeling of connection to your roots as you understand them to be, but you shouldn't feel so bound you can't make your own religious decision. Orthodox history is also rich with those that turned the other cheek.
Us Brethren are the result of both Radical Pietist and Anabaptist belief and thought. As the name implies, the Radical Pietist were on the most extreme end of the Pietist movement, advocating completely breaking away from the established churches. Some, like us, formed their own church bodies. Some rejected any kind of church leadership altogether. The early Brethren were mostly from a Reformed background. They were also strongly influenced by the earlier Anabaptist, and the Mennonites of their own day. They rejected infant baptism, and in 1708 the original eight baptized each other in the Schwarzenau River, believing their previous baptisms to be invalid. (Interestingly, it is my understanding that the Brethren way of baptism is very similar to the Orthodox way, except that we do not baptize infants. Correct me if I am wrong. Early Brethren were quite insistent that the correct form of baptism was for person to be submerged completely three times in water, in the name of the Father and then of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Pouring or sprinkling was completely rejected.) Until about a century ago, we wore plainclothes and spoke German. With the Quakers and the Mennonites we make up the three historic peace churches. Having a strong interest in genealogy, I can tell you that most branches of my family have been Brethren for generations, though if you go back to the 1800s I do have Mennonite ancestors.

It is true that for is here in America pacifism cannot compare to what happened in the sixteenth century. I pray I will never have to experience that. The same cannot be said for our Brethren brothers and sisters in Nigeria, for whom my denomination has set aside next week as a week of fasting and prayer. They are being attacked by radical Muslims, and their churches are being burned. Most of the kidnaped girls and their families are members of The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Still, they remain committed to our tradition of peace. I do not know if I could be like them if the same happened to me.

I do not feel so bound to my roots that I cannot make my own decision about my faith. I have already told certain members of my family I will probably eventually become Orthodox, Catholic, or Anglican. That said, nonviolence and peace are central to my understanding of Jesus.
 

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BrethrenBoy said:
Porter ODoran said:
BrethrenBoy said:
Thinking about this more, I've realized how central peace and nonviolence are to my understanding of Jesus. This probably comes from my Anabaptist background and the fact I come from a long line of Christian pacifists. Is there an official Orthodox teaching on this? And what do you think of the arguments from scripture from the article I mentioned in the OP?
Church of the Brethren is a Pietist (Lutheran Quietist) group, not Anabaptist. Although you personally may have a Mennonite bloodline -- many Brethren do. Modern pacifism rarely compares to the sheep-to-the-slaughter tales of Reformation times -- since we simply enjoy many legal protections (conscientious objector status, war-protest protection) someone in 1500s Switzerland wouldn't have dreamed of. Yes, probably an uncle of yours paid a fine or spent some tense hours in jail waiting for night court. Now, I don't doubt your feeling of connection to your roots as you understand them to be, but you shouldn't feel so bound you can't make your own religious decision. Orthodox history is also rich with those that turned the other cheek.
I do not feel so bound to my roots that I cannot make my own decision about my faith. I have already told certain members of my family I will probably eventually become Orthodox, Catholic, or Anglican. That said, nonviolence and peace are central to my understanding of Jesus.
I will pray for you as you continue your spiritual journey. I hope you find your way into the Orthodox Church. And may you never deviate from your understanding of Our Lord's clear teachings on peace and nonviolence. The Orthodox Church needs more voices to witness unto this truth.

"Lord have mercy"


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I heard the following explaination. Christ says: "If anyone slaps you on the RIGHT cheek, turn to them the other cheek also".
But if somebody slaps you with the right hand as people usually do, it will be the LEFT cheek, not the RIGHT one. That means that we need to understand these words need in some smart way.

Besides, He does not say "If anyone slaps your friend on his right cheek, turn to them his other cheek also".
 

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Alexander_Kuzmin said:
I heard the following explaination. Christ says: "If anyone slaps you on the RIGHT cheek, turn to them the other cheek also".
But if somebody slaps you with the right hand as people usually do, it will be the LEFT cheek, not the RIGHT one. That means that we need to understand these words need in some smart way.

Besides, He does not say "If anyone slaps your friend on his right cheek, turn to them his other cheek also".
There are two Gospel passages where Christ speaks on this matter:

Matthew 5:39
But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

Luke 6:29
To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.

A right hand can still slap a right cheek if a backhand is used. You might be trying to read a meaning into that passage which might not be there.
 

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LBK said:
Alexander_Kuzmin said:
I heard the following explaination. Christ says: "If anyone slaps you on the RIGHT cheek, turn to them the other cheek also".
But if somebody slaps you with the right hand as people usually do, it will be the LEFT cheek, not the RIGHT one. That means that we need to understand these words need in some smart way.

Besides, He does not say "If anyone slaps your friend on his right cheek, turn to them his other cheek also".
There are two Gospel passages where Christ speaks on this matter:

Matthew 5:39
But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

Luke 6:29
To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.

A right hand can still slap a right cheek if a backhand is used. You might be trying to read a meaning into that passage which might not be there.
Walter Bruggemann has interesting exegesis for the passage from Luke. It is likely easily googalable.

You might say he looking for a meaning that is not there, but unfortunately it makes a lot of sense.
 

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Regarding how to react to persecution:

When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. - Mathew 24:16

then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains - Mark 13:14

“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. - Luke 3:7
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Alexander_Kuzmin said:
I heard the following explaination. Christ says: "If anyone slaps you on the RIGHT cheek, turn to them the other cheek also".
But if somebody slaps you with the right hand as people usually do, it will be the LEFT cheek, not the RIGHT one. That means that we need to understand these words need in some smart way.

Besides, He does not say "If anyone slaps your friend on his right cheek, turn to them his other cheek also".
Nor does he say, "If anyone slaps your friend, then you can use violence to defend them." The disciples certainly didn't take up arms to defend one another against the murderous violence they faced. If violence and killing are ever permissible for the Christian, then surely the disciples and apostles would have taken up arms to defend themselves and others against the serial killer Nero.

As difficult as this truth may be for us, the teachings and example of Christ clearly point to nonviolence, forgiveness, and love of our enemies. We are called to fight evil and injustice, but only with the spiritual weapons of love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice.

May God give us strength.


Selam
 

Fabio Leite

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Alexander_Kuzmin said:
I heard the following explaination. Christ says: "If anyone slaps you on the RIGHT cheek, turn to them the other cheek also".
But if somebody slaps you with the right hand as people usually do, it will be the LEFT cheek, not the RIGHT one. That means that we need to understand these words need in some smart way.

Besides, He does not say "If anyone slaps your friend on his right cheek, turn to them his other cheek also".
Nor does he say, "If anyone slaps your friend, then you can use violence to defend them." The disciples certainly didn't take up arms to defend one another against the murderous violence they faced. If violence and killing are ever permissible for the Christian, then surely the disciples and apostles would have taken up arms to defend themselves and others against the serial killer Nero.

As difficult as this truth may be for us, the teachings and example of Christ clearly point to nonviolence, forgiveness, and love of our enemies. We are called to fight evil and injustice, but only with the spiritual weapons of love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice.

May God give us strength.


Selam
Of course He did. He told them to take up swords and whipped people when necessary - and He did it to defend His Father's house.

To think that the Apostles were wondering around the world in roads full of thieves and that they never defended each other or themselves does not make any sense.

Actually, that they should defend each other is *precisely* why most of them were sent in pairs, just like cops are. Jesus clearly shows in acts and words that violence is not to be a first resource, that it is not the solution for everything and that it is not for us to use it to rule over others, but only to defend ourselves or those who can't do it themselves. It's a last resort thing, but it definetely is an option.


It's funny because it's true.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Fabio Leite said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Alexander_Kuzmin said:
I heard the following explaination. Christ says: "If anyone slaps you on the RIGHT cheek, turn to them the other cheek also".
But if somebody slaps you with the right hand as people usually do, it will be the LEFT cheek, not the RIGHT one. That means that we need to understand these words need in some smart way.

Besides, He does not say "If anyone slaps your friend on his right cheek, turn to them his other cheek also".
Nor does he say, "If anyone slaps your friend, then you can use violence to defend them." The disciples certainly didn't take up arms to defend one another against the murderous violence they faced. If violence and killing are ever permissible for the Christian, then surely the disciples and apostles would have taken up arms to defend themselves and others against the serial killer Nero.

As difficult as this truth may be for us, the teachings and example of Christ clearly point to nonviolence, forgiveness, and love of our enemies. We are called to fight evil and injustice, but only with the spiritual weapons of love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice.

May God give us strength.


Selam
Of course He did. He told them to take up swords and whipped people when necessary - and He did it to defend His Father's house.

To think that the Apostles were wondering around the world in roads full of thieves and that they never defended each other or themselves does not make any sense.

Actually, that they should defend each other is *precisely* why most of them were sent in pairs, just like cops are. Jesus clearly shows in acts and words that violence is not to be a first resource, that it is not the solution for everything and that it is not for us to use it to rule over others, but only to defend ourselves or those who can't do it themselves. It's a last resort thing, but it definetely is an option.


It's funny because it's true.

Dear brother, with respect: you are conflating the acts of Jesus with the acts of His disciples, and you are positing your own speculation as if it is chapter and verse.

Jesus used a whip, but I don't recall Him handing the whip to His disciples and telling them to work His violent judgment. The disciples and apostles were murdered for their faith, and there is no record from scripture or Church tradition that describes them violently fighting those who attacked and oppressed them.


Selam
 

Fabio Leite

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Fabio Leite said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Alexander_Kuzmin said:
I heard the following explaination. Christ says: "If anyone slaps you on the RIGHT cheek, turn to them the other cheek also".
But if somebody slaps you with the right hand as people usually do, it will be the LEFT cheek, not the RIGHT one. That means that we need to understand these words need in some smart way.

Besides, He does not say "If anyone slaps your friend on his right cheek, turn to them his other cheek also".
Nor does he say, "If anyone slaps your friend, then you can use violence to defend them." The disciples certainly didn't take up arms to defend one another against the murderous violence they faced. If violence and killing are ever permissible for the Christian, then surely the disciples and apostles would have taken up arms to defend themselves and others against the serial killer Nero.

As difficult as this truth may be for us, the teachings and example of Christ clearly point to nonviolence, forgiveness, and love of our enemies. We are called to fight evil and injustice, but only with the spiritual weapons of love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice.

May God give us strength.


Selam
Of course He did. He told them to take up swords and whipped people when necessary - and He did it to defend His Father's house.

To think that the Apostles were wondering around the world in roads full of thieves and that they never defended each other or themselves does not make any sense.

Actually, that they should defend each other is *precisely* why most of them were sent in pairs, just like cops are. Jesus clearly shows in acts and words that violence is not to be a first resource, that it is not the solution for everything and that it is not for us to use it to rule over others, but only to defend ourselves or those who can't do it themselves. It's a last resort thing, but it definetely is an option.


It's funny because it's true.

Dear brother, with respect: you are conflating the acts of Jesus with the acts of His disciples, and you are positing your own speculation as if it is chapter and verse.

Jesus used a whip, but I don't recall Him handing the whip to His disciples and telling them to work His violent judgment. The disciples and apostles were murdered for their faith, and there is no record from scripture or Church tradition that describes them violently fighting those who attacked and oppressed them.


Selam
To be Christian is to imitate Christ. if you do not understand when to be angry or even violent, then you do not have love at all.

Your kid is on your picture Gebre. Tell me that if you arrived home and found your kid being raped you would go all pacifist on the rapist.

The Christian thing to do is what this father did:
A father who walked in on a man allegedly sexually assaulting his 11-year-old son beat the man to a pulp before calling police to say they could come collect him from a 'bloody puddle' on his floor.
The 35-year-old man, who has not been identified, told a 911 dispatcher in the early hours of Friday: 'I just walked in on a grown man molesting [name redacted]. And I got him in a bloody puddle for you right now, officer.'
Police arrived at the Daytona Beach home in Florida to find Raymond Frolander, 18, unconscious.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2697700/Father-beats-man-bloody-puddle-walks-sexually-abusing-11-year-old-son.html

Jesus ordered the Apostles to carry swords. You think it was just to give their attackers one more option on how to kill them? Of course there is no need to detail any fight that happened, since the main subject of the books is God himself and not "The Ninja Apostles".

To forgive and to turn the other cheek have *nothing* to do with preventing criminals or murderers from meeting the due consequences of their acts, even if these consequences mean the use of violence to stop them.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Fabio Leite said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Fabio Leite said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Alexander_Kuzmin said:
I heard the following explaination. Christ says: "If anyone slaps you on the RIGHT cheek, turn to them the other cheek also".
But if somebody slaps you with the right hand as people usually do, it will be the LEFT cheek, not the RIGHT one. That means that we need to understand these words need in some smart way.

Besides, He does not say "If anyone slaps your friend on his right cheek, turn to them his other cheek also".
Nor does he say, "If anyone slaps your friend, then you can use violence to defend them." The disciples certainly didn't take up arms to defend one another against the murderous violence they faced. If violence and killing are ever permissible for the Christian, then surely the disciples and apostles would have taken up arms to defend themselves and others against the serial killer Nero.

As difficult as this truth may be for us, the teachings and example of Christ clearly point to nonviolence, forgiveness, and love of our enemies. We are called to fight evil and injustice, but only with the spiritual weapons of love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice.

May God give us strength.


Selam
Of course He did. He told them to take up swords and whipped people when necessary - and He did it to defend His Father's house.

To think that the Apostles were wondering around the world in roads full of thieves and that they never defended each other or themselves does not make any sense.

Actually, that they should defend each other is *precisely* why most of them were sent in pairs, just like cops are. Jesus clearly shows in acts and words that violence is not to be a first resource, that it is not the solution for everything and that it is not for us to use it to rule over others, but only to defend ourselves or those who can't do it themselves. It's a last resort thing, but it definetely is an option.


It's funny because it's true.

Dear brother, with respect: you are conflating the acts of Jesus with the acts of His disciples, and you are positing your own speculation as if it is chapter and verse.

Jesus used a whip, but I don't recall Him handing the whip to His disciples and telling them to work His violent judgment. The disciples and apostles were murdered for their faith, and there is no record from scripture or Church tradition that describes them violently fighting those who attacked and oppressed them.


Selam
To be Christian is to imitate Christ. if you do not understand when to be angry or even violent, then you do not have love at all.

Your kid is on your picture Gebre. Tell me that if you arrived home and found your kid being raped you would go all pacifist on the rapist.

The Christian thing to do is what this father did:
A father who walked in on a man allegedly sexually assaulting his 11-year-old son beat the man to a pulp before calling police to say they could come collect him from a 'bloody puddle' on his floor.
The 35-year-old man, who has not been identified, told a 911 dispatcher in the early hours of Friday: 'I just walked in on a grown man molesting [name redacted]. And I got him in a bloody puddle for you right now, officer.'
Police arrived at the Daytona Beach home in Florida to find Raymond Frolander, 18, unconscious.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2697700/Father-beats-man-bloody-puddle-walks-sexually-abusing-11-year-old-son.html

Jesus ordered the Apostles to carry swords. You think it was just to give their attackers one more option on how to kill them? Of course there is no need to detail any fight that happened, since the main subject of the books is God himself and not "The Ninja Apostles".

To forgive and to turn the other cheek have *nothing* to do with preventing criminals or murderers from meeting the due consequences of their acts, even if these consequences mean the use of violence to stop them.

Pacifism is not "passive"-ism. I have been consistently clear about that. And you are right that to be a Christian is to imitate Christ. How did Christ respond to those who were oppressing, torturing, and brutalizing His loved ones? He responded by giving up His own life, not by destroying the lives of others. He calls us to do the same.


Selam
 

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Wow. . .complex thing (turning the other cheek)  - no wonder we run from it.  

Soon after the OP posted this question - unfortunately, and perhaps fortunately, an opportunity presented itself to me. . .which brought back all sorts of memories of this through out my life.  Here's what I remembered and learned from it:

- It seems to me that we all turn the other cheek - to some degree or another often, and just take it for granted, not even thinking about it.  As it should be, as we are Christians.  :) That was encouraging to see in others and in myself.  

- In the times that I've turned the other cheek it was ALWAYS for the sake of someone I loved dearly or deeply OR someone who I WANTED TO LOVE dearly.  Forgiveness was there BEFORE the harsh words, the slap in the face, the dastardly deed. . .as it were.  Love covers a multitude of sins.  Here it stands the strongest.

- Turning the other cheek requires a step toward the person with the foot (physical or verbal or emotional).  'Slap' - I'm still here.   'Step forward.'  I love you.   'Slap' - I'm still here.   'Step forward.'  I love you. . . and you keep stepping forward - just as Christ keeps stepping forward toward us despite all the times we slap Him in the face.  (I don't know about anyone else, but I can be quite the accomplished slapper.)

- Turning the other cheek requires being FOR instead of being AGAINST.  Here's an example - When you are FOR life, you are for all life in every form of life - it blankets the whole.  It, again, is love covering all - a multitude of sins.  You are FOR life in the womb, and FOR life on death row and FOR life in the child who is being abused.  When you are AGAINST something - you are against a PART, not the whole.  If you are against abortion, you leave out murder, if you are against murder you leave out ill treatment of children. . .and on it goes.  If you are FOR life - you are FOR the unborn, and the mother, and society - and on and on it reaches.  When you turn the other cheek - you are being FOR the person, not against.  You don't step into the fallacy of abolishing . . .splinters.  Your aim becomes perfect and true - and you cannot miss the mark.  So, it's being for love instead of being against one willful sinful act.  Being FOR can be violent (turning the tables in the temple).  

When being FOR someone - then being FOR them covers their good days, bad days, indifferent days, whether they are being snarky or silly or happy or mean.  You are for them when they are going down a wrong path or a higher path.  You are simply FOR them.  If you are against their slap, then you can destroy the whole based on that one slap. .. or even many slaps. . .based on a part, a splinter of soul.

- Turning the other cheek is putting His Will before mine.  It's dying to self.  It's not defending self, but it's not being a door mat, either.  It's a CHOICE.  Just as Our Lord CHOSE to lay His life down, the moment we are offended we choose whether we want to follow His example and lay our lives down or pick our offense as the ultimate worth - and go on a moment of vengeance.  Yet, He said, 'vengeance is mine, I will repay.'  Romans 12:19.  I'm supposed to REJOICE that I have opportunity to turn the other cheek. (Easier said than done, Lord have mercy!)  That my life becomes more and more difficult to do so, as He disciplines me through it, hones me by it, and pushes me closer to His holiness.  It is only in His holiness that I will ever EVER get to know even a partial piece of the God I serve - as holiness allows no deceit.  

- We are not to resist the evil man - the evil doer. . . we're to turn the other cheek, walk another mile, give him/her our extra coat.  The worst - the absolute worst that's going to happen is we will lose our body for doing something for the sake of our Lord - BUT even Christ didn't PUT HIMSELF in harms way.  He didn't seek it out.  He let it find Him.  He avoided feasts because He knew the evil of men's hearts. . . (This was from council from my very wise priest.) - lol. . .and grief, I never thought of that.  Wise words.  Thanks be to God.  Sometimes hiding and preventing the first slap is just simply the thing to do.  

So this is what I learned from this past week.  I hope that if any of this is not something that will strengthen me or any one else to hope in Him, then may it fall away.  Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.


Edited after re-read for clarity and completion of thoughts.


 
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