Jesus tells us to “turn the other cheek,” as if sustaining one slap isn’t enough. Why would Jesus say that?
Restraint shows true strength.
Retaliation is a thoughtless natural reaction. Forgiving one offense is difficult enough, but willingness to accept another one is remarkable, since most people lack that kind of self-control. Scripture says controlling our spirit is a greater victory than conquering a city (Proverbs 16:32). We might need God’s help to do that.
Not striking back shows how we are different.
Jesus’ disciples are known by their love (John 13:35).
When I was in grade school, Daddy said, “Bullies want you to react. Don’t give them a reaction, and you’ll take away their fun. Then they’ll find someone else to pick on.”
A few times, I was shoved to the ground, but I wouldn’t rise up to fight. In response to cutting words, I smiled and walked away. When my sandwich was stolen, I acted like I was glad someone else had it. When kicked, I didn’t react.
Daddy was right. Soon, bullies not only left me alone, but they seemed to respect me.
Two wrongs don’t make a right.
If I respond in kind, I’m doubly wrong by doing the very thing I’m reacting against. As I began to treat others as I would have them treat me, I was amazed. They usually responded to my kindness with kindness. Often, their offense turned to support.
I should take Peter’s advice: “Don’t retaliate, insulting or injuring others after they have done that to you, but do the opposite, blessing them, for you will be blessed when you bless others” (1 Peter 3:9). My heart should be the heart of God, which is revealed in 2 Peter 3:9. He doesn’t want anyone to perish.
Love calms many storms.
When Jesus talked about allowing a second slap without reaction to the first, he was offering a Christian principle of forgiveness that Jews knew little about. The Jews understood justice, not mercy. They expected an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. For them, Jesus’ message had to be a real slap in the face.
If your enemy is hungry, prepare a feast for him. If he is thirsty, give him your best wine. Your generosity will amaze him—as much a shock as coals of fire being poured upon his head—and God will reward you. — Romans 12:20, The Discussion Bible