A Room With a Southern View

Thoughts on Life and Liberty from an Average Middle-Class Kentuckian

Question of the Day #4: What does it mean to turn the other cheek?

on June 8, 2012

Turn the other cheek.”  We’ve all heard it, few practice it.  What does it really mean?  First, let’s look at the origin of the saying, Jesus is speaking to the apostles, recorded in Matthew chapter 5.

“38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 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. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.”

I’m not a trained theologian, but I think Jesus is saying that we should go the extra mile, do more than is expected of us, give 110%.  Some would say that Jesus is speaking more to his apostles, to their behavior at that time than he is to us now.  But remember, 2Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” so all Scripture is for us in our own time.

To me personally, ‘turn the other cheek’ means to be in control of our response to evil.  We can choose to not react impulsively to insults or other ugliness that is targeted at us. We can just walk away. If someone hurls an insult at us, we can choose to ignore it. We shouldn’t lower ourselves to that ugly person’s level.

We always have the choice to do the right thing or the wrong thing. We don’t have to let our emotions control us. Because when our emotions are in control, most of the time they will lead us to the wrong thing. To rise above our natural human emotional response and sinful nature is to take the high road.

This philosophy is part of my Christian faith, but one doesn’t have to be a Christian to practice ‘turning the other cheek.’ Many people of different faiths, and of no particular faith practice it.

The next time someone irritates you, or insults you, stop and consider your response. Take over control from your emotional instincts, and choose how you will respond. It is powerful and liberating!


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Kentucky Mountain Girl News by Henrietta Asher Handy

Living one wheel revolution at a time. Copyright 2000-2018 by Henrietta Asher Handy

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