Re: Matthew 5:39

On Fri, 4 Nov 1994, MADAVIDS.US.ORACLE.COM wrote:

> 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.  

Maybe there is something in our use of terminology that I'm not 
understanding, but I still can't understand our questioning whether or 
not this verse should be taken "figuratively."  Is there anyone out there 
who believes that this verse is meant to be taken literally, that is, 
only applying to being struck in the face?  I haven't heard anyone say so.

It seems to me that the question we are discussion revolves 
around what we mean by "figuratively."  By figuratively, one could mean 
that the meaning of the verse is vague.  This allows us to sweep the text 
under the text and not worry about its meaning.

That is not what I see going in in this discussion.  By figuratively, it 
seems that Jesus was using a simple example to show a larger point, 
that somehow, when one sins against us, we should respond by enabling that 
action again.  If so, and I this seems to be what we are wrestling with, 
we neet to find out where the limits of this policy goes.  The gospel 
writers did not themselves portray Jesus as using this as the only policy 
with which he interacts with sin.  Consider the cleaning of the temple.

Mary wrote: 

> There are instances when not standing up to evil is, IMHO perhaps a 
> greater sin than the evil itself.  

We are looking for the limits of this policy.

My point is this: As I see it, there is not question as to whether this 
verse is to be taken figuratively.  The question is :What are the limits 
of the policy, i.e. when do we apply it?

Travis Bauer
Religion student at Jamestown College

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