Saturday, March 8, 2008

Turn the Other Cheek?

"But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also." Matthew 5:39 (NRSV)

Did Jesus want abusers to have free reign over victims? Did he want his followers to be doormats?

For years, I refused to look at the first question. Jesus is supposed to be good, loving, and kind so why would he want wrongdoers to beat up his followers? Was God okay with domestic violence? It was a puzzle I didn't want to dig into. God was my only security in a chaotic and violent life--I didn't want to mess that up by digging around in confusing verses.

I assumed that Jesus was asking us to be passive. Not that the term "doormat" felt comfortable, but I felt that I was being a "good" Christian when I endured suffering at the hands of my abusers. Many other victims have the same view. Even non-Christian victims that I have talked with responded to the notion that it was somehow honorable to patiently endure abuse.

In its own way, being a martyr is gratifying.

Can you relate?

In Monday's post, we will look at how Jesus behaved when others abused him. How did sinless Jesus deal with the blows of evildoers?


Momsomniac said...

An interim minister at our church gave a sermon awhile back in which he talked about this passage in historical context.

Slave owners would reprimand their slaves by slapping them on the left cheek. A slap on the right cheek indicated a confrontation with an equal. Turning the other cheek can then be read in a very different way.

This was a new thought to me, and powerful. I though you might find it powerful as well in your continued healing.

Thank you for your courage in sharing you journey.

Tanya T. Warrington said...

Thank you so much for your comment, Momsomniac. I had never heard or read about this cultural insight into Jesus instructing us to turn the left cheek. I want to look it up for myself. It is an amazing insight, I am powerfully affected.

Thank you again!

Recommended Books

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  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
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  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
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  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft