Slowly, powerfully, turning the other cheek

But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.” Jesus – Matthew 5:39

Turning the other cheek is easily misunderstood.

Rev Hammond may have been good with his fists, but he was better known for his compassion and care for the disadvantaged…

The story is told of how the great Australian social reformer and evangelist, Rev Bob Hammond, was once confronted with this verse by a heckler. As Rev Hammond preached on the tough streets of Sydney around the time of the Great Depression, the heckler called from the crowd:

“If I was to come up there and hit ya in the face, would ya turn the other cheek?”

Rev Hammond confirmed that he would. So the man walked through the crowd and hit him in the face. Rev Hammond – true to his word – made no effort to retaliate and went to continue with his message.

Not content, the attacker struck him on the face again, and this time the Rev Hammond looked at the man and said, “Jesus never said what I was to do when being struck on the other cheek.”

And with that, the large preacher who played in a premiership-winning Essendon football team as a young man, gave his assailant a hiding. Or so the story goes…

The illustration ‘turn the other cheek’ which Jesus gave as an alternative to seeking revenge is rarely done well.

Many when who think they are ‘turning the other cheek’ are actually just turning away, either in bitterness and smug superiority or in fear and self-loathing.Read More »

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