"If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also...." (Luke 6:29-30)

"If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back." (Luke 6:29-30)
This statement by Jesus deserves little in the way of explanation. Jesus is being very clear with this instruction. But we must also understand this is a specific discussion during a specific time and circumstance as well. There are certainly practical issues to consider.

Who was Jesus instructing here?

Jesus' teaching provided clear instructions for his followers. They were constantly criticized by the institutional Jewish officials and many followers of the institutional Jewish temples. They were derided and called names, because they were following Jesus - someone who did not tow the line of the institutional Jewish temple and their clergy. Jesus is being clear to them - do not fight.

Unfortunately, this clarity hasn't existed among those who have claimed over the centuries to be followers of Jesus:

  • The violence of the Roman Catholic Church against those who did not follow their Nicene Creed.
  • The torture and slaughter of innocent people over trade routes and territories; the beating and imprisonment of so-called heretics during the Inquisition
  • The bloodshed of the Crusades - so many wars and acts of violence conducted by fanatics supposedly in the name of Jesus.
  • The abuse of young children by priests in recent centuries.
To these, Jesus spoke specifically and prophetically:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matt. 7:21-23)
Jesus did not want any part of these fanatical followers, whose purpose was using Christianity and Jesus himself to further their own causes - or the causes of their institutions. He said, "Away from me." He said, "I never knew you."

Did Jesus teach fanaticism?

Fanaticism is rampant today. Fanaticism has nothing to do with Jesus' teachings. Jesus taught love for God and pleasing God.

Fanaticism - aggressively trying to convert followers - is not pleasing to God. Why not?

The Supreme Being, if He wanted to, could force all of us to worship Him if He wanted to. But He doesn't. Why?

Because love requires freedom. The Supreme Being wants us to decide for ourselves that we want to love Him and worship Him. If we were forced to worship Him that would not be love. That would be slavery.

The Supreme Being - the Person Jesus refers to as "My Father" (above) - enjoys the exchange of love. He does not need anything. He has all the power. All the strength. He owns everything, and He created everything.

But what He enjoys is exchanging loving relationships. And since love requires freedom, the Supreme Being gives us the freedom to love Him or not.

Trying to force another person to worship the Supreme Being is not what Jesus taught. Hurting our brothers or sisters in the name of Jesus or Jesus' Father is not what Jesus taught.

A person who is forced might bow their heads or wear the prescribed robes or outer clothing as a result of being forced, but fanaticism can never force someone into loving the Supreme Being - the original goal of all bonafide religious philosophies.

Those who think that they can force their brothers or sisters to worship and devote themselves to the Supreme Being are dead wrong. There is no such thing as being forced to love the Supreme Being.

Don't love and devotion require freedom?

Yes. One must be free to love or not. Such freedom is intrinsic to love and devotion to God.

This is why the Supreme Being gave us the ultimate freedom to love Him or not.

This is also part of the purpose for our not seeing the Supreme Being as we occupy these physical bodies. The Supreme Being doesn't want to intrude upon our desire to be away from Him.

He is giving us space to make our own decision. Since we decided at one point in the past that we didn't want to be with Him, He gave us this virtual environment (the physical world) and these temporary physical bodies in order to be away from Him.

And He gracefully stays out of our view. This is the Supreme Being. A wonderful person. A giving person. Full of grace. Full of love.

But a person who wants to enter into a relationship with the Supreme Being must follow the teachings of His representative. Jesus is clear here: He wants his followers to care for others - and love others - and respect others. Why?

Because caring for others is pleasing to the Supreme Being.