When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. (Matthew 5:38-42)
Jesus used a variety of teaching methods. Sometimes he taught using parables. Other times He was more direct in His approach. Still other times, like today, He said things that left listeners scratching their heads.
Was Jesus really telling us that we need to just stand there and take a beating? We should provide no resistance to an aggressor? By telling us to turn the other cheek is Jesus suggesting we invite further aggression?
If not, what is the purpose behind Jesus’ words?
Jesus’ shocking words inform us. They tell us: Don’t be so quick to react. Don’t always give a knee jerk reaction. Consider reflection and prayer rather instinctive reaction. Attempt to understand. Have compassion.
That’s a pretty good list of rules to live by. When we hurt someone (as we invariably will), we certainly hope the person we’ve hurt will do all of those things.