“Turn the other cheek” is one of those commands Jesus gave that I find very challenging. I tried it in high school, and I was jumped and beaten greatly. I do not look back on that moment and think, “Yeah! I was obeying Christ and THAT makes it all worth it.” Still not an easy thing to grasp.
Until recently reading an account of Ghandi. Not a declared Christian, but not exactly a declared ANYTHING while being a studier of EVERYTHING. He was a man of peace with outrageous respect for the teachings of Jesus. Upon facing a gang of people with a Christian pastor, the pastor turned to run for safety, and Ghandi stopped him inquiring, “Doesn’t the new testament say turn the other cheek.” The pastor, flustered, said it was a metaphor. One of history’s greatest icons of peace says, “I don’t think it is. I think Jesus meant to stand and take the blows, and take courage. Not to retreat, but not to attack either. From this, the other will eventually have respect for your courage. For you will not strike back but nor will you be turned away. I think Jesus grasped this, and I have seen it work.”
There is a large part of me that wants to echo Ghandi’s reflection. Some part of me that desires peace and righteousness and still manly strength so as not to back down. Could it really be that by turning the other cheek we are actually taking on more courage and eventual respect than we would by either retreating or attacking? Maybe Ghandi didn’t read John Eldridge and his peaceful tactics weren’t exactly ‘Wild at Heart,” but like most of Ghandi’s actions and claims, we don’t have to agree with any of it, but we definitely should take them as ideals to provoke our thought. What say you?