Turning the cheek

I am a bit confused on how far we should go concerning Jesus’s teaching on the mount about turning the cheek.

Luke Chapter 6
27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

According to Jesus, do I have the right to stand up for myself? If someone threatens to take my child, do I willingly hand him over? Where is the line drawn?

I can’t tell you what Jesus had in mind exactly; I’m not an expert. I assume Jesus is being hyperbolic in order to make a point about not exacting revenge. Moments later he goes on to say “don’t give what is holy to dogs, don’t throw your pearls before swine lest they trample them, then turn and devour you”.

The Bible is constantly “regulating” itself. “Love your mother and father.” “Whoever does not hate his mother and father cannot follow me.” We just have to look through the obvious to understand the deeper message.

The Catholic Church specifically teaches that defending yourself is perfectly appropriate and if death results to the aggressor, so be it, so long as either a) it was an accident or b) killing the aggressor was proportionate to the crime perpetrated against you. Both of these (a and b) must also conform with a criteria: that the method you used to disable the aggressor was appropriate (if you can just as easily stop the situation by brandishing a weapon, shooting in the leg, etc… without risk to yourself, you are not justified in blasting someone in the face)

So, if someone is taking your wallet but isn’t threatening to kill you, you don’t get to blast them in the face. If you have strong reason to believe you’re going to die, blast away if it’s your only viable option.

When it comes to defending someone else that you’re responsible for (ooh, lot of room for debate in that one), it’s actually considered grave matter to protect them. Failing to attempt to therefore makes for one of the criteria of mortal sin (gravity, knowledge, willingness)
2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."65

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.66
2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.67

2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."68

Actually, if you equate it to the sermon, if someone takes your child, you should also give them your pet cat. :slight_smile:

This teaching of Jesus was a radical response in relation to the “eye for an eye” policy that was in place.

The point of this was to reach people to not respond against evil with evil but rather disarm evil with good. You have a right to feel safe and to protect your children.

This passage from the catechism should better explain the Church’s position on the sermon and self-defense.

2262 In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord recalls the commandment, "You shall not kill,"62 and adds to it the proscription of anger, hatred, and vengeance. Going further, Christ asks his disciples to turn the other cheek, to love their enemies.63 He did not defend himself and told Peter to leave his sword in its sheath.64

Legitimate defense

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."65

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.66
2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

Sorry Sighguy, I quoted the same catechism as you.

I am quoting the verse from another Gospel

Matthew 5:39
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.

In my opinion there are several layers that Jesus wants to tell us:
[LIST=1]
*]Not to engage in revengeful act
*]Jew people are right-handed society where the use of left hand is frown upon. So to slap one’s right cheek with your right hand means you slap with the back of your hand. In the culture of the time, this is an insult that is usually done to slave, prostitute etc. To turn the other cheek means to force them to acknowledge that we are equal
*]The Jewish law demands exact punishment for all transgressions (e.g. eye for eye etc). By offering more punishment, we are letting people know that what is done is an injustice.
[/LIST]

Hope this helps

I think Jesus was teaching a lesson–much as he was teaching a lesson when He compared the Kingdom of Heaven to the bridegroom. Also, it’s interesting to me that He used a comparison that He would experience during His own Passion, when after the crowning with thorns and scourging, the guards spit on Him and slapped His face as they ridiculed Him. I don’t think He meant for you to turn your child over to a harmful situation. I do think he meant that if someone calls us a name, gives us the finger while driving, shoves us in a schoolyard or is basically trying to humiliate us verbally or physically—that the most perfect response is nonviolence. A more recent example of this spirit is MLK during the civil rights marches.

11Sep13…If Jesus Christ were around today, He would never turn His cheek to a muslime.

As a matter of fact, He would treat them the same as he treated the Philistines. ‘these hypocrites’.

Forever and Ever
BobLoblalh

Hello,
The best answer might be, go in the corner close your eyes tight and say a prayer.

The worst answer might be, go in the corner close your eyes tight and say a prayer.

The clear choice is up to you.

Thank you

I asked a similar question to a priest once and his answer was: what did Jesus do when the Roman centurion slapped him on the face? Did he turn the other cheek to the centurion?. Right there is where you find the answer to where the line is drawn. When the centurion slapped Jesus his reaction was answering why have you slapped me, show me where where I have mispoken. The old law was an eye for eye so under this He would have had to slap the centurion back, but Jesus point was that eye for an eye is not right, however you have to stand up for yourself and stand up against injustice via some kind of pacific resistance which is exactly what he did with the centurion.

I suspect you have confused the Pharisees with the Philistines in your post. The Philistines had dissappeared as a distinct ethnic group for some centuries by the time Christ became incarnate.

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