Did Jesus always turn the other cheek?

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Did Jesus always turn the other cheek?

Welcome to Three-Peat Tuesday!

Building from my recent book UNBEATABLE! Seven Pillars of Personal Excellence, each blog will contain three P’s: Pillar, Principle and Practical, all geared towards nourishing you on your personal and spiritual growth journey.

Pillar: The First Cheek

“If I have done something wrong, say so. But if not, why did you hit me?”-Jesus, the Messiah, preparing for his crucifixion.

Principle: The Second Cheek

As I’ve spent time recently going through the Gospel of John in my morning devotionals, something struck me.  The very same Jesus that said to “turn the other cheek” apparently didn’t always do so himself. A biblical contradiction? Not at all! Let me explain.

As Jesus stood before various religious officials in the hours before his crucifixion, many questions were thrown at him. He either responded with silence or with clinical brevity. On one occasion, his succinct yet stinging response aroused the ire of an officer in charge, which led to the latter striking Jesus, presumably in his face.

Readers of the Sermon on the Mount may then have expected Jesus to turn the other cheek and make himself available for a second hit. Not this time. Jesus challenged the injustice by simply asking, “if I did nothing wrong, why did you hit me?”

As a fan of the non-retaliation ethic that Jesus typically taught, my eyes were opened by his decision to ask a pointed question. No temper. No rage. No quarreling. Yet, no silence.

It seems as though some situations warrant closed lips and while others call for healthy advocacy. I’m realizing that expecting an explanation for life’s injustices is not necessarily being defensive or proud. It’s having the wisdom to know what is an apt response in any given situation.

There’s a time to be silent and a time to be heard.

Practical: A Time to Speak instead of Turning a Cheek

There are some situations in your life where it is not appropriate to be quiet. Find your voice.

If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is now available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Winsbert+A.+Quow

    Great thoughts and I agree with the observation. I think when Jesus said to ‘turn the other cheek’ he was speaking figuratively, in that we strive not to react to confrontations in anger and with violence. But we can’t literally allow others to keep slapping us without defending ourselves from the assault or we could get seriously hurt or even killed. Just as in the same way we can’t literally give to everyone who asks us or lend to everyone who wants to borrow from us (Matt.5:41-42) lest we become easy targets for irresponsible people and poor stewards of money (and poor too). The scriptures provide the framework for a godly life but we must also apply wisdom to determine the right response to specific situations ( James 1:5-7).

  2. J. Tyrone Marcus

    Oh absolutely Almando. These are some great thoughts and indeed so much of the Sermon on the Mount was taught using metaphors and figurative speech. Jesus consistently preached against retaliation and being confrontational but I often misunderstood this to mean that his followers had to be passive. As you rightly said, it takes wisdom to discern the correct response in different scenarios. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Colin

    Great food for thought, Tyrone. Always aim for the appropriate response, which could well be no response. Definitely need to pray for wisdom in every situation that arises.

  4. J.+Tyrone+Marcus

    Wisdom is surely the need of the hour, Colin! It’s not always easy to know when to keep silent and when to speak up. Thanks for these thoughts.

  5. Ronke+Cunningham

    Thanks for this, Tyrone. When is the appropriate time to apply the turning of the other cheek and speaking up; this has always been my challenge. By nature I would always opt for the latter. The pain of keeping silent can be so unbearably painful for me and yet it is the hill I must climb, borrowing somewhat from Amanda Gorman’s recent poem recital at the recent US presidential inauguration.

  6. J.+Tyrone+Marcus

    You are right Ronke. This seems to be one of those areas where we will perfect the art through trial and error. This is the joy of the growth journey.

  7. Winsbert A. Quow

    Yes Tyrone, trial and error, the ultimate teacher! Sometimes the fear of making a mistake or of sounding foolish prevents me from doing or saying something in a particular situation. I have had to learn that failing occasionally does not equate to being a failure. I recall this quote attributed to the great inventor Albert Einstein, “He who has never made a mistake has never made anything”. I watched an interview with Amanda Gorman where she explained that she had a bad speech impediment growing up, so she resorted to expressing herself through writing. And after realizing that her poems were very good, she felt the urge to perform them which then helped her to become an excellent speaker. A great motivational story about the victory of persevering through adversity.

  8. J.+Tyrone+Marcus

    Excellent and inspiring thoughts, Almando! Thank you.

  9. Michelle+Marcus

    I love this blog because it reveals so much of who Iam. I am quicker to not turn a cheek but for my voice to be heard or stuff my feelings and not deal with the issue. That is why Jesus is the perfect example and surely knows how to strike the balance needed. I am grateful to look on to the Saviour to seek the balance I need in my temperament.

  10. J.+Tyrone+Marcus

    Thank you, Michelle. You are right in your observation that Jesus was an amazing Teacher and Mentor who showed his followers exactly how to respond in any given situation.

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