Lots of questions lately….

What does it mean…and it is worded different in various versions of the bible….

But what does it mean..when Jesus is quoted..paraphrased..remembered as saying…to turn the other cheek…? If someone slaps you on one cheek..offer them the other…what is the meaning..the thought we are to carry from that…? Does anyone know…?

The other verses that follow…speak of…if your brother ask for your shirt…give him your coat also…another…if you are asked to walk a mile..go two…

Does it mean you continually allow someone to do something…and never say or do anything…because one does not want to appear judgmental…?

If you ask for my shirt..and I give you also my coat…is it giving something I need…or is it implying from the surplus I might or do have…?

How many times is enough times to allow someone to insult you…? seventy times seven is the number Jesus gave his disciples in telling how many times we forgive someone…so what does that imply….?

Is it like being in abuse…and I stay and take the blows offering my cheeks…and forgive until I reach the summation of seventy times seven…?

And the question rumbling around in this brain..is this…what are the words Jesus really said….?

It is like the woman at the well…who Jesus tells to go and sin no more…because she had five husbands and was living with another man…not her husband…is it as easy as that…?

Pick up the bags and walk out the door…? really…?..sure was not easy when I did it…and I only had one husband…

So how do we offer our other cheek to another…when they have already slapped the first one…?

And do I give…and make myself in need…or do I keep my shirt and coat…?

Or do I realistically look about me..and see what I can do…without looking about me..at what everyone else can do..in my view…

Maybe it is simple..like…do not throw someone away because they made a mistake…try to hear them from what they have to say…

Maybe do not wrangle in homes and beds that are not yours…stay out and you may just get out alive….

Maybe..if I see a friend..someone..anyone in need…and I can do without that burger…extra drink..sweater…or spend some time listening…why not…?

Maybe Jesus said the seventy times seven..maybe he did not..maybe it was embellished..to add a dramatic affect…maybe…

And maybe Jesus wanted us to be as understanding with others..as we ask others to be with us…

Maybe it is realizing that we are reactive beings..who get our feelings hurt..more than we like to admit…and we react…

And maybe we need to step back..and realize we all in the same boat…deep end of the lake..treading water as fast as we can…hoping our muscles..our stamina can hold out…realizing we want a break…and a moment to realize…we aint as bad as we make the other person out to be….

And it is time to turn the other cheek…suck it up and be the first one to move towards another…

Because without it…we create the domino effect…hit one..down..down..down..down…down…

And we all have our faces in the mud…

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~ by HopeGlenn on October 31, 2013.

11 Responses to “Lots of questions lately….”

  1. My take on these passages (they are connected) comes from both study of language and study of the audience he said it into…your approach may differ, but my conclusion is that the “other cheek” passages are not about being powerless, they are quite the opposite, and from my perspective it is the only time Jesus authorized using shame. Let me explain:

    “Turn the other cheek”…really what was said was “offer your left cheek”…why?

    Well even today in middle-eastern context it is considered a shame for you to ever use your left hand (without being to graphic it is the hand you wipe with)…and you never slap with an open hand it is always the back of the hand…so if someone slaps you on the cheek it will be the back of the right hand…it is a shaming action to you…so his advice was turn your right cheek AWAY and offer the left cheek…which meant that the antagonist must now strike you with their left hand…which would be a shame to them, not you…contrary to the “door-mat” approach, Jesus is showing that even in your powerless state you always have the other persons shame to influence them…

    Same was true with clothing…even in the Mishnah, it is a shame if you make someone go naked…the shame is on you, you are considered “perverse” if you make them naked in public…so giving them the “inner garment” was putting the shame back on the antagonist…if they make you naked they are perverse…

    Same held true with going two miles…there is historical writings where a Roman soldier was made to stand outside his commanders tent all day holding a dirt clod because he had made a civilian carry his pack two miles…these guys were like Navy Seals, very proud, carpe diem and all that, to be made to look weak by having someone carry your stuff beyond the Roman law (1 mile was the law, 2 was not) made you look weak, it was a way to dis-empower the brute force of imperial law by shaming the soldier…

    So all three of these examples are about using the power of imposed shame in a “judo” fashion, using it against the person forcing you…

    As far as forgiveness goes, it is based upon “repents”…which has more to do with changing the way you think than behavior…and Jesus is not endorsing abuse, he is simply pointing out that true repentance may be a process and we should not stop it by a set of rules…

    Sorry for the long post…but I too have wrestled with these same text and it has taken a long time to see that the character of Jesus is not about making me hurt, it is about making me powerful even under abuse…

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  2. I have never heard it that way…and I am so glad to hear it…
    I knew there was something being left out..when it was spoken with wrath to me before..this helps me even draw closer to my understanding of God..and His mighty abundance of love….Thank you

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  3. I think we struggle with understanding that Jesus did not come to make us victims, but instead came to become a victim and following him seems redundant in that regard…when He tells you to offer your left cheek it is a very forceful posture he is calling you to…your oppressor must now either stop, or become openly aggressive…to strike with an open hand meant you were a violent person, a “slap” could be used to establish who was superior, but an open strike made you equals…Jesus is advocating that even powerless people have to power to equalize the environment, even when it seems they do not…

    Jesus is boldly declaring not to honor your powerlessness, but instead honor the power you have to stay in control of yourself in spite of abuse…

    Much of our christian culture has empowered abuse because they needed it to control us…but God never made people to be controlled…

    By the way as I read your blog I find a person who feels very deeply, feels strongly and does not waste even the smallest pain… this is beautiful and the day will come when what you write will reflect a joy and a happiness you can not contain…

    What we honor eventually gives life to us…

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    • I so much appreciate your words…in many ways I feel like you are in my heart..hearing what it has to say…
      I appreciate hearing the words from one who has obtained such insight and wisdom….
      I have much joy..especially in knowing what miraculous choices I have made…
      I think my heart wants so many others, who have traveled such similar paths as mine….that there is light and love and they are those…
      Light..love..sweet hope….

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      • Well authormandycarroll, you should be asleep…if I am reading the time stamp correctly…but you make it easy to walk into such a large place as your heart, you are vulnerable and unafraid…and that makes you safe…and from where I sit far away on the other coast…I think the cocoon days have come to an end for you…your story is a beautiful tale of transformation that invites other hearts in…that which was meant for evil has been turned into good for many others…if you can hear it…I will prophesy a new place, a new set of wings, a new way of life is emerging in you, through you for you…your metamorphosis gives courage to the leaf hangers…the small confined space that looked like death brings forth such a wonderful creature…who could not be inspired?

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      • Life it appears…has begun…in the way..the manner…it was to be…
        The way I have always lived…
        There is always life..even in the darkest of places….

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  4. By the way,,,just so there is no doubt…no woman should ever remain where she is physically struck, emotionally berated, or insulted…no one should…Jesus is most definitely NOT instructing us to remain under abuse, he is telling us how to stand up under it without becoming the same as the person using these mechanisms…we move in the opposite spirit because we have value…

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    • My of my favorites thoughts..that I stated out loud…
      “to not do and become the evil which had been done to me..”
      This is the choice…

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    • I stood up to him and the sons…and did not return the evil….they found that so disarming…it is hard to keep striking someone who will only defend..yet not inflict hate on them…
      I do not think it was until years after I left, I recognized the choices I had made and what they meant…
      I am glad for each one…just sorrow for those..who believe control and hate are life…

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      • Your bravery informs your beauty and gives light to your journey, such a wonderful hope before you…and one day Kings will bring your sons on their shoulders…to the light…your courage in dark places gives you authority to speak into existence things that are not yet seen in the light.

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  5. I always understood it to simply mean to forgive, but NOT to allow continual abuse. I’m glad you stood up to abuse. God Bless!

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