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The mad genius of turning the other cheek

when you are struck...

don't strike back, take the blow

don't protect yourself, expose yourself

don't lead with justice, lead with mercy

don't retreat into safety, advance into danger

don't retaliate with strength, retaliate with weakness

don't shrink into self-pity, move out into self-giving

don't insist on your rights, open yourself to wrong

don't cower in defeat, hold fast in meekness

don't stand on your dignity, stand on your shame

don't harden into bitterness, soften into tenderness


be defiantly peaceable

be immovably vulnerable

be steafastly gracious 

be victoriously wounded

be like Jesus.


Who, when we lashed out at Him...

did not come in violence.  nor remain in indifference

did not strike back.  nor shrink back

did not retaliate.  nor harden


He absorbed the blow

And He turned again to us.

He upheld His offer.

Arms outstretched, even to His killers.

Especially them

Only them

You, even.


There is strength in this weakness.

Strength to redeem the world.


It begins with surrender.

Laying down your arms.

Receiving His peace.


It continues with service.

Following His way.

Absorbing your own blows.

Today. Every day.  Turning your cheek.

To this you are called.


To be lower than a door-mat.  Far lower.

A door-mat is passive

But you thow yourself under the feet of your enemies.


To be lower than a slave.  Far lower.

A slave walks his alotted mile grumbling in his heart.

You walk two miles with a glint in your eyes.

For you know the power of this weakness.

It reconciles the world.


15 thoughts on “The mad genius of turning the other cheek

  1. Gav

    Excellent to see your post Glen and good to hear your are on the mend!

    I gather Glen you mean this is for humans that oppress us but not our ultimate enemy, Satan? Who against we are to put on the armor of God like in Ephesians 6 and "be strong in the Lord and his mighty power".

    Once I heard a good sermon on humbleness from a quality teacher and I think the message I got from it was that being humble wasnt to think of your self as being low or worthless but to consider others of higher importance than yourself. The feel I got from you then in the last part was to think little of yourself. But Father God, who knows the number of hairs on my head and Jesus who died for me doesnt think this.

  2. glenscriv

    Hey Missy, it didn't start out as a poem - not sure it ever became one either. They were just a few sentences I wrote as a draft post, I just couldn't be bothered turning it into prose!

    Maybe Matthias is right - better as a song. A nice halfway point.

    Hi Gav, feeling so-so thanks.

    Good point on Satan. I think in Eph 6 it's interesting how weak we're supposed to be - strong in HIS mighty strength, dressed in HIS armour, and just constantly and desperately praying.

    In a sense I think we wound Satan most when we live out the cross and forgive our enemies etc. We *help* Satan when we retaliate. On the other hand we diminish his rule when we turn the other cheek.

    As for 'being low or worthless' - turning the other cheek could NEVER make us that. Christ's eternal glory is shown IN His sacrificial death for enemies. Forgiving and serving and bearing insults etc could never be a sign that we are inferior. It is a glorious thing to do.

    1 Pet 2:20-22:
    But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

    1 Pet 4:12-16:
    Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

    So all those points about God counting the hairs on our head are absolutely true and right. And we should think that even as we voluntarily throw ourselves under the feet of our enemies. The Spirit of glory rests on us IN that cross-like suffering.

  3. Mum

    Hi Glen,
    I too think at least the section down to ... To this you are called ... would be good set to music.

    All the new testament quotations as so very apt, although it is not only a NT idea. It is something OT believers were also called to be/do. I guess because we get the whole of life stories of characters in the OT, it may be harder to separate out this call to total dependence and humility before the Lord. David's behaviour in war and lust, contrast with his many quotes in the Psalms about his total dependence and humility before his Lord.
    The character of Esther that OT book is one of humble abasement, trust and perseverance. The Lord used her to save His people in a wonderful way as she lived out a lot of the sentiments you express in your poem/prose/?. Things like exposing herself and advancing into danger, holding fast in meekness. not standing on her dignity, self giving, being peaceable, vulnerable and gracious.
    I'm too tired to think of more at the moment - I'm not able to sit at my computer until the wee small hours, but there must be others out there who can think of other OT examples of the Lord having always called his people to total dependence and vulnerability. Cheers, Mum

  4. Missy


    "...just couldn’t be bothered turning it into prose"

    I thought that was the definition of poetry?? :)
    Whatever you call it, it struck at the very heart of who Jesus is to me.

    I agree with Mum! In fact, I think I told you a while back that I was studying the story of Esther through the lens of the Christ story after you challenged me to look at the entire scriptures in this way. I came to the very same conclusions as Mum. Mum, tired or no, the words were just right.

  5. glenscriv

    Well well. What a privilege to welcome my own mother to the comments! You weren't tempted to call yourself (in the words of Steve Conway) 'Mummy Scrivener'?

    As for the OT stuff, very good. I'll add another few examples in my next post.

    And Missy, funny how often people object to the christ-centred 'lens' because they say that it's possibly too fanciful and can yield too many different interpretations. Actually I find people come to a far more unified understanding of the Scriptures when they read them wth Christ at the centre than when they simply study what are supposedly the obvious historical, grammatical details of the original setting, etc.

  6. glenscriv

    And Dan, in case your mother also reads Christ the Truth (all the best mums do), I'm sure you'd want to mention how glad you are that she comments on *your* blog, yes?

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