“Turning the other cheek”

“And unto him that smitten thee on the one cheek, offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also” (Luke 6:29).

Contrary to the nauseating weakness of contemporary interpretations, these great words attributed to Jesus were never meant to be a general license for servility, cowardice, timidity, and pusillanimity; but where a call to boldness and radiant strength of heart!

We need only rearrange our conceptual signposts. The “slap” is symbolic of experiences that manifest in our lives and confronts us as an aid for our inner development. The “giver of the slap” represents the Law of Sowing and Reaping. The cheek symbolizes the orientation of our heart. Because we see experiences that challenge us as “evil” and “misfortune”, we typically resist anything uncomfortable and do not fully commit ourselves to inwardly learning the lesson from the moment. In our presumed victimhood, we resist and rebel against our “slap”(fate) of the moment, we battle against reality, we refuse to completely alter our concepts, and struggle against changing our self-serving narrative; so we are oppressed, feel sad and suffer, and thus close ourselves to learning the lesson it offers us by only half-heartedly engaging with the experience (only allowing one cheek).

But the call of “turning the other cheek” is a call to boldness and courage of heart! A call to radiant might by wholeheartedly embracing the lesson that the experience offers, without reservation. For reservation is any notion of “deserving better”, “this is not fair”, “I want this to end”, “why me” etc. In any of these reservations, we are not fully committed to embracing the moment. But only when we fully embrace the moment do we recognize what we need to inwardly change to sow better. This requires boldness, trust, courage, faith, strength of heart, and spiritual might…not cowardice, timidity, and pusillanimity.

So the call to “turn the other cheek” is a call to fully embrace as Just–without reservation, with a cheerful heart, and without rebellion–those experiences that manifest in the moment for us to grow from. He who strives to do this and thus humble himself to the wisdom of the rightness of the Law will grow stronger. For through his humble attitude of courageous acceptance he gives his whole heart to the moment, as the did penitent thief on the cross who hung bleeding next to Jesus over thousand years ago!

~Ikenna Q Ezealah

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