For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
When we read the Sermon on the Mount (and far too many other excerpts from Matthew), we quickly allegorize it, transfer it from its root in a message to Jewish apostles, disciples, and onlookers, to non-Jewish Christians today.
In doing so we can go on forever about what it means. Authors can write one best-selling book after another, all of them writing as if Jesus was teaching / preaching to all of us for all time, with us simply shutting out his original and intended audience. Our finest theologians can sit around the table sorting out "just what does it (the Sermon) mean? How do we apply it to ourselves today?"
Put on your Jewish cap. Read the Sermon on the Mount as if you are an orthodox Jew, or reasonably close, interpreting and applying every word literally. Do not massage it into something more than it is. When the plain sense of the Sermon makes sense, seek no other sense.
Reading through this, I will say Christianity doesn't mean stupidity or foolishness. "turning the second cheek" is a parable which simply means patient, non brutal, endurance, to deal with the anger within you....
I tired it as a teenager! And it worked!
I was walking home from school and lad from school walked up to me and punched me on one check, I stood there and ruined my head and pointed at the other cheek, he looked confused and ran off, he was never any bother again, of course I could have run away or hit him or chased him but that would have achieved nothing. He wanted a fight and he did not get one! He learned from that!
We are to protect our selves and our families. If some one breaks in to your home you have a right to shoot them. That is why we should all have guns. Every where they have taken guns away, only criminals have guns.
And the crime rate goes up. When law abiding citizens have guns, the crime rate goes down. No criminal is going to break in to a house he knows he could get shot.
There are times to turn the other cheek, and there are times not to. Sometimes bully's need to be taught a lesson. We should not let bullies beat up on others while we stand by and do nothing. I think the golden rule applies here.
Well James that sounds to me like it comes from you and me and many others I can name, but it didn't come from the word of God or from Jesus' teaching. And that's the question: What did Jesus mean by "turn the other cheek?" I think He meant EXACTLY what He said.
Explaining how and why we live the way we do is of little or no consequence. I don't know why it's so hard for some of us to just admit that we're just like the rich young ruler of Luke 18. Jesus told him to do something he couldn't bring himself to do. If Jesus is telling me to not defend myself (That's exactly what's being said here) I'm now in the same predicament as the rich young ruler. I'm not about to do what's being asked of me. Maybe if it would only apply to me I could at least give it a try. But what about my wife Faye and our grandchildren?
That's what Mr Houdmann and many others are doing, in my opinion. You're claiming exemptions to what He's trying to teach us. Instead of confessing to being UNWILLING to obey, some seem to be trying to reshape the charge we're being given. 'O NO He doesn't mean to not stand up for yourself.' In my opinion, THAT'S EXACTLY what He means. If not, please explain what "do not resist an evil person" means. Seems He left out the part about "unless the evil person threatens your family."
And one person on here told about when he turned the other cheek as an adolescent. I knew many, many kids who wouldn't fight back when I was growing up. But, they never claimed to be serving God as a reason for it.