Sunday, November 30, 2014

Turning The Other Cheek Is Literal Or Symbolic?

To Turn The Other Cheek When Hit On One Side Means What?

Question : Did Jesus Teach Pacifism When He Told Believers To Turn The Other Cheek When Hit On One Side?

Answer : Pacifism is the belief that war and violence are unjustifiable and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means.

What Jesus said in Matt 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." is based on the following context that shows how we as the followers of Jesus must not be like a worldly person who seeks for vengeance, but as the Sons of our Father in heaven we must reveal His perfect character to the world around us which do not know it at all and will nether come to see the beauty of God unless we act what we have inside us. We become perfect when we let out that perfection of the character of our Father God in our spirit to influence and rule over our soul which will automatically control our outward actions that will glorify God (Eph 4:22-24). Even the thief who hanged on the cross near Jesus first mocked Jesus for being weak but then seeing how He did not behave like they are with cursing and swearing for the torture they were given to die, but instead seeing how He responded with love and forgiveness of the Heavenly Father for all the wrong they did against Him, immediately he realized that Jesus was not just a man who is a criminal like them who is dying for his own crime done, but He is LORD who had come to earth with a mission to save sinners like himself who are dying for his own sins and is returning to heaven victoriously to take them heavenward in to the Kingdom of God which will one day rule the earth, immediately he requested Jesus to remember him when He comes in to His Kingdom, thus mercifully Jesus saved that criminal for eternity to be with God in heaven (Matt 27:44; Luke 23:39-43).

What does this show to us? If we do not resist the evil person who slaps us on our right cheek by expecting the Lord to deal with him and then keep our attitude in a meek way by having committed ourselves to God to help us overcome that evil that come against us with the good nature of our Heavenly Father which is inside us, then we glorify God for having saved us and making us His children, and to have given us the privilege to serve Him by being like Him on earth as He is in heaven (Rom 12:21; 1 Peter 2:23; 1:15). If they call this as pacifism and meekness which people consider as weakness, then they are mistaken because God acts for the one who waits for Him to act on their behalf (Isa 64:4). That is why God says, if we are so vulnerable to the evil that comes against us just because of showing His character of heaven on earth against evil doers, then those who try to exploit our meekness as though it is a weakness will have to face God who in His time will take heavy vengeance against them who act against us (Rom 12:19; Jude 1:7; Deut 32:35; Lev 19:18; Psa 94:1; 99:8; Isa 35:4 61:2; Jer 51:36; Nah 1:2). If we are meek and do not act against evil, God who is in control of the whole universe will start to act on our behalf against evil. This is actually told by Jesus for a personal application in our Christian lives, but it is not told to the governments of the world to act passively when seeing evil rise up its head to destroy human lives who are created in the image of God and hence should be protected by the government of the land with love and care. The governments of the world are kept by God to be an avenger of God to execute wrath on him who practices evil (Rom 13:4). If the governments of the world act in a evil way against the very people whom it should protect, soon God will overthrow them for their evil and will reinstate someone who will protect the people of that nation (Prov 12:7; 13:6; 14:11; 21:12).

So pacifism has been encouraged by Jesus for the Christians as much as it is possible for them to practice in their personal lives according to their faith (Rom 12:18; Luke 6:29, 35-36). Whether pacifism fits others outside the Christian circle or not, but it is something to be practiced within the faith people of God as their response to the goodness that God has shown to them in their lives by saving them from sins freely to justify them before Himself in order for them to show mercy like Him to others who do not deserve it.

The phrase "whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also" can be taken as a literal thing to do first of all because it does hold the meaning of being meek before evil doers believing that the sovereign hand of the Lord will reply on our behalf instead of us acting by reacting is a valid interpretation. Literally showing the other cheek of our face to our enemy might infuriate him to think that you are mocking him for his evil actions, so it is better to thoughtfully keep our attitude in our heart in love towards the evil doer and not literally show our other side of our cheek for him to unnecessarily hit you again. In short, God wants us to patiently wait for Him to act on our behalf and does not want us to defend for ourselves but commit ourselves to God. If we start to defend and take vengeance against one who has hurt us to make things straight out for ourselves, then God will not fight for us.

St. Augustine the great theologian and Father in faith explains and exposits below the Scripture that Jesus spoke about turning the other cheek when we are hit by someone: 'Moreover, if we pay attention to the words of the precept, and consider ourselves under bondage to the literal interpretation, the right cheek is not to be presented by us if the left has been smitten. Whosoever, it is said, shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also; Matthew 5:39 but the left cheek is more liable to be smitten, because it is easier for the right hand of the assailant to smite it than the other. But the words are commonly understood as if our Lord had said: If any one has acted injuriously to you in respect of the higher possessions which you have, offer to him also the inferior possessions, lest, being more concerned about revenge than about forbearance, you should despise eternal things in comparison with temporal things, whereas temporal things ought to be despised in comparison with eternal things, as the left is in comparison with the right. This has been always the aim of the holy martyrs; for final vengeance is righteously demanded only when there remains no room for amendment, namely, in the last great judgment. But meanwhile we must be on our guard, lest, through desire for revenge, we lose patience itself—a virtue which is of more value than all which an enemy can, in spite of our resistance, take away from us. For another evangelist, in recording the same precept, makes no mention of the right cheek, but names merely the one and the other; Luke 6:29 so that, while the duty may be somewhat more distinctly learned from Matthew’s gospel, he simply commends the same exercise of patience. Wherefore a righteous and pious man ought to be prepared to endure with patience injury from those whom he desires to make good, so that the number of good men may be increased, instead of himself being added, by retaliation of injury, to the number of wicked men.' (Epistle 138.)

Thus the bottom line is, never retaliate when evil comes to make you bad by appealing to your soul nature, but rather allow the Spirit of God to control your soul's peace through denying yourself and allowing your spirit to rule over your soul. Thus in showing the good character of your heavenly Father you are overcoming evil with the good character that the Father God has given within you to glorify Him. We may never know how God can change evil men through displaying His glory through us when we are meek enough to let God work for us.

Much Blessings.... 


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