October 27, 2005

the other cheek

I have been reading a book called How To Overcome Evil by Jay E. Adams. It is an interesting book, but it isn't what I expected it to be. I thought that it was going to be a book on how to overcome the evil in our own lives, I wouldn't say that is exactly what this book is about.

For starters, it is an exposition of Romans 12:14-21. This always makes a good book. Anytime someone takes the time to exposit a certain passage of scripture, they are bound to uncover some excellent truths.

The reason why I am sharing all of this with you is because I was reading in it recently, and I ran across a very profound thought concerning the turning of the other cheek, as described by Jesus.

I have always liked the idea of turning the other cheek, but for some reason, in the back recesses of my mind, it never seemed quite right. Are we just supposed to let people walk all over us? If someone takes our cloak, are we really supposed to offer our coat also? But the real problem was my understanding of Christ's examples.

Jay Adams cleared a little bit of that up for me though. He starts of by describing how we are supposed to attack evil. We are to attack it with good. In Romans 12:21 we read, "do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Be aggressive, attack evil, but use the right weapons! You can't defeat evil with evil, evil must be defeated with good.

Anyway, check out this quote from Jay Adams concerning the turning of the other cheek:

"One doesn't turn the cheek in every sense; only in the sense of returning good for evil. He has sinned. Caring for him in his sin, you give the other person the opportunity to repent and do the right thing instead."


Wow. I had never thought about it that way before. Turning the other cheek is this aggressive act of good, in order to advance the kingdom! We are soldiers in this battle against evil, and if we are going to win (overcome), we must use the right weaponry.

"In effect by returning good for evil you are demanding better of him than he has given you thus far. You aggressively refuse to accept his sinful behavior and thrust forth your other cheek for a kiss rather than a slap."


I don't know about the kissing part, but I get the idea.

"That is not passivity. That is an active, aggressive, demanding response that requires something different from the persecutor. Doing good to another involves the most violent sort of attack upon him. It is a pointed thrust at his basic stance toward you and ultimately toward God."


This is a great book, with a lot of helpful, practical teaching. And it is very useful in everyday life. Probably everyone of us has been hurt or wronged in one way or another... respond with the right weapons: respond with good.

Check it out: