I’ll be honest, the phrase “turn the other cheek” has always bothered me. Bothered me because I’ve had a hard time making sense out of it. I don’t see Christ as being a pushover doormat who would just acquiesce to avoid conflict. That’s not at all the Christ that I see. So why would He ever ask us to be that way? It seems like at times we associate being a good Christian with being a good doormat. And that completely contradicts my beliefs of Christianity. Thus, the struggle I’ve had with the phrase “turn the other cheek” because it seems to contradict the way I view Christianity.
Christianity isn’t about developing the ability to hold your tongue and avoid stirring the pot by becoming a doormat. And choosing to be a Christian isn’t about “righteously” choosing to allow people to walk all over you.
I see “turning the other cheek” as the ability to not allow anger and resentment to run your actions and behaviors. It’s about not allowing the situation or person to provoke you. This requires a much more emotional development than the one who is easily provoked and riled. And it also requires a much more emotional development than just allowing someone to walk all over you and take advantage of you. Both of those actions are an act of weakness. Christ is not asking us to be weak when He gave us the challenge to turn the other cheek. He is asking us to do something very hard. Not hard because you have to roll over and give up or give in. Hard because it takes so much more effort and strength to climb above the thick fog of your emotions to be able to see things accurately and to rise above immature behaviors.