S03 E09 – Turn the Other Cheek


  • 0:29 – 2:00 = Topic Introduction and Context (Turn the other cheek)
  • 2:01 – 2:56 = Book Study
  • 2:57 – 4:51 = Jesus’s Non-Violence
  • 4:52 – 10:45 = Jesus a Pacifist?
  • 10:46 – 15:23 = About friendship
  • 15:24 – 19:04 = Talking about Book Study
  • 19:05 – 19:18 = Closing

Turn the Other Cheek – the Instruction from Jesus about non-violence

When people want more justice, but we’ve been told that Jesus ‘turned the other cheek’. We think we need to be a door mat.

What do we think it means?

  • We can mistake it to mean that Jesus is calling us to keep turning the cheek from left to right no matter what is said or done towards us. But that can’t possibly be true, when Jesus also calls us to love. 
  • Love means we have to point out when someone does something that is harmful towards themselves, which includes, when they are unnecessarily and intentionally causing harm to another. 
  • To stand by and let it happen over and over, isn’t loving and isn’t what turning the other cheek is about. 

Is Jesus a pacifist?

  • No! He is not a pacifist. He takes the fight to the enemy. He dispossessed satan of his kingdom. He is not some hippy who espouses peace at the expense of chains and slavery. 
  • The first pacifist hippy Jesus we hear of is only since the hippy era, and nowhere else through history.

But he is not pro-violence either.

What does it actually mean? What is ‘turning the other cheek’ in our lives?

  • Accountability/Dialogue – We can’t have accountability if we were all people of taking hits – we need people to tell us the truth, which can, if not delivered sensitively feel like a slap in the face, but may be the truth. 
  • Boundaries are needed too – Setting boundaries is essential for every relationship, and in order to be loved and to love another. It’s not love to say ‘do whatever, whenever, however’ – that’s not liberty as much as it is chaos. It says more to ‘I don’t care’ than it does to ‘I care about you, and I love you’. 

Rene Girard – about Mimetic Violence

  • He makes the point that since the fall, in order to deal with the hurt, pain and envy that results from sin, the human person seeks to scapegoat – to blame someone for their predicament in order to create peace.
  • It comes from a place of fear that there isn’t enough resources for everyone, with a fear of loss or scarcity.
  • That we have to take from the other person is an outright lie. E.g. constantly mimicking each other’s dysregulation and escalating to reach the point of violence based on the principle or fear that resources are scarce. The motivation behind trying to outdo the other is a fear that not doing so would mean that we’re somehow losing, or missing out on something. So maybe if we lose, we lose face, credibility, power, we’re humiliated and embarrassed etc. It all stems from fear.

Turning the other cheek breaks this cycle.

  • It opens us up to vulnerability by proposing forgiveness and non-violence as an answer to betrayal. Jesus is the ultimate scapegoat who overturns the entire system of violence in answer to violence, by allowing himself to become the scapegoat. His willing death actually succeed where all other attempts at scapegoating have failed. He brings to resolution mimetic violence by offering men something else to imitate, something powerful, something tangible, something which might be called a mimetic charity. 
  • He offers us something different to move forward.

From a Christian standpoint the lie of scarce resources is far from the truth.

  • Our earthly resources may be scarce, but our heavenly treasures are infinite and can be stored up by placing our hope someplace greater than self-sufficiency, or the needs we might have that’s rooted in fear that leads to taking up violence to outdo another in order that we might not lose.
  • Christian’s have no need to fear that we will lose power by turning the other cheek – when we’ve been given authority from God as baptised Christians.
  • Christians don’t need to fear losing credibility – because any prestige, or standing we were given, was given by God for a purpose and he can rebuild it and make it anew if he so wishes.
  • No fear need have a hold of us when we can see Jesus on the cross and realise, he turned the other cheek for love – not for power, or pride, or anger. 


  • Stina – Being sick – Realising to drop many formal prayer practices because of being unwell, and just seeking intimacy with Jesus, when formal prayer is too difficult.


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