It can be difficult to turn the other cheek in certain situations. Jesus asks us to do so, but how do we turn the other cheek without being a doormat? There’s biblical precedent for using your God-given rights to protect yourself, just not to lord it over others.

How do we turn the other cheek without being walked all over? Jesus explains to us how we can live in victory without being a doormat. #ORBC Click To Tweet

Jesus’ teaching was a sign of both brilliance and humility before God. How can you live up to a higher standard and leave vengeance off the table?

An Eye for An Eye

Matthew 5:38-39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” Jesus wants us to limit retaliation and avoid building violence by taking means such as revenge. We should instead be forgiving and patient with one another.

Practicing Forgiveness

If Matthew 5:38 were taken literally at all times, we would have to let everyone take advantage of us. Turning the other cheek would become an encouragement for evil. This isn’t what Jesus had in mind. His examples illustrate His disciples’ need to give up any sense of entitlement to personal revenge, to be purged of the motivation of personal vengeance. By asking them to turn the other cheek, Jesus meant that His disciples should be motivated by love and a desire for the redemption and forgiveness of offenders even when opposing their actions.

Asserting Your Rights

The apostle Paul aggressively defended himself against his enemies, asserting his rights as a Roman citizen, and making it clear to his attackers that there could be consequences if he were unlawfully harmed in Acts 16:37; “But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.”


These verses about turning the other cheek don’t require us to meekly accept constant abuse, just to be forgiving and patient. Paul used his Roman citizenship to escape at least one punishment and to call our corrupt leaders when they tried to sweep their actions under the rug. We are told to be patient, not completely submissive to every form of abuse we receive.

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