Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Turn the other cheek

The phase, “a slap in the face” is both interesting and informative.

Mathew wrote on the Sermon on the Mount, 
"But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."

I always thought this meant to be passive, to not fight back.  Then I heard it explained in another way by a priest.
At the time it was written, striking someone deemed to be of a lower class was done with the back of the hand. (backhanding someone) It was used to assert authority and dominance. 
If the persecuted person "turned the other cheek," the discipliner was faced with a dilemma. 
The left hand was used for unclean purposes and could not be used to strike someone under any circumstances. The only way to use the right hand to strike an other's left cheek, was to slap with the open hand or a punch, both of which were seen as a statement of equality. 

So, yes, turning the other cheek is a nonviolent response, but it is also a response that demands respect.
Strike me if you wish, but do so as an equal.

Forming a union and standing up for yourself, does not mean you will never again take a backhand to the face. 
It means that now you can offer the other cheek.

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