‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:38-48, NRSV)
Are you for real Jesus?
Really I’m suppose to not seek retaliation, but turn the other cheek to become a punching bag and to let people walk all over me by giving them everything I got!
If we take the words at face value then yes that is what it says, but we have to understand the context.
You see it was said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth so that there would be justice and not retaliation. It is suppose to keep it equitable. Yet it turns the bullied into the bully. It makes the one taking the eye, just as bad as the person who took the eye to cause the taking of the second eye…
And as Jesus usually does He ratchets up what society expects…
But we still have to understand what He is saying…
But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;
This sounds like Jesus wants us to be a punching bag, but actually it is leveling the playing field. You see someone of a higher status would strike a person on the right cheek with the back of their right hand. But in order to strike a person on the left cheek they would have to use the palm of their right hand and in Jesus’ day this signified that those people were equals. One did not strike a lower statues person with their palm… It is leveling and saying we are equal in the eyes of God!
and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.
Again Jesus is asking to go above and beyond. But we have to understand that the understanding in the Roman Empire was that any person should and could be asked (forced) to care a Roman’s soldier’s pack for a mile. Jesus is saying take the expectation and do it happily and then go an extra mile! We as disciples are called to go the extra mile. We can not do the bare minimum with those we love. Everyone does that so how does the world see the love of God, by us as disciples living like Jesus and loving those who nail us to the cross, you and me!
So know Jesus is not asking you to be a doormat. He is asking you to share His love with the world!