Possibly more than any other saying of Jesus, this sums up what it means to be a Christian.


matthew-5-39

“When someone strikes you on your right cheek, then turn the other one to him as well.” (Matthew 5:39)


Turn the other cheek! Possibly more than any other saying of Jesus, this sums up what it means to be a Christian. Does Jesus want us to be doormats, suckers who allow ourselves to be taken advantage of by every bully and gangster, who walk into our lives?


Why would we be advised to turn the other cheek? Aren’t we supposed to love ourselves, have some self-respect? Aren’t we supposed to fight evil? It is difficult to give absolute reasons, but there are several important ones. The message of Christ is always about love. We aren’t acting in a loving way when we strike back at a person. Besides, who are we to judge the motives of another person? Only God would understand the motives of that other person.

Then, there is also the issue of free will–the choices we make. We are called to act at a higher level than our animal instinct to strike back. That is what my cats do.

Then there is the example of Christ in the most horrific situation of His crucifixion, Who prayed to our Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Reading this in the gospel is easy; following the message is not, but that is our calling. With the help of God’s graces, let us do so. Christ died on the cross to redeem all people, not just the ones who are nice to us.

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