Q. I recently heard an ‘alternative’ sermon regarding turning the other cheek. According to this teacher, if you turned the other cheek and caused someone to strike you with the back of their hand, it was actually an act of defiance rather than submission. He said Jesus was therefore teaching us to ‘stand up for ourselves’. I would be grateful for your thoughts.
A. This teaching is from Matt 5:38-42 and Luke 6:27-36. The context of the Luke passage is loving your enemies. The Lord’s first example is turning the other cheek. Next He said that if someone takes your cloak, give him your tunic too. Then He said that if someone forces you to walk a mile with him, voluntarily go with him for two miles.
In Luke’s version He ends with the Golden Rule, and gives examples of loving those who hate you and lending with out expecting repayment. In this way you’ll be treating others the way God treats us. He gave more than we deserved without any expectation of repayment and loved us even when we hated Him.
This response to someone else’s aggression also gives us the moral victory, and in the context of the Matthew passage allows us to store up treasure in Heaven.
There’s no way the “alternative teaching” you heard can be reconciled with the Biblical intent of this passage.