Re: Matthew 5:39
>From Greg Jordan:
>It seems like any slapping, even on the left cheek with the offender's palm,
would still be >sinful, and turning the cheek would be encouraging the sin.
This has always been my problem with this verse: intuitively, if you allow
someone to get away with being a bully, he becomes a bigger bully. Carried to
its extreme, 'resist not evil' could mean that Christians should not have
stood up to Hitler.
"Take no personal vengeance for wrongs done to you: forgive" is how I choose
to interpret this: a blanket exhortation to not resist evil leads to ludicrous
results. There are instances when not standing up to evil is, IMHO perhaps a
greater sin than the evil itself. The failure of many individual Christians -
and many Christian institutions - to stand up for Jews (and others) against
Hitler comes to mind. (But I stray from the text.)
I think if you look further in Matthew 5 you will find the essence of what
Jesus was getting at:
You have heard it said: love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I
tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Perhaps the incongruity of 'turning the other cheek,' is merely laying the
groundwork for the even more radical concept of 'love your enemy,' and should
therefore be interpreted figuratively.
Mary Ann Davidson