Read Luke 6:27-38 with your family.
This week we continue with Jesus and his followers together on the plain. Jesus is still teaching them about how to treat each other and how to treat people who might not agree with you.
One part of this story stands out: Often grown-ups and the church call it ‘turn the other cheek’, and think it was said to let people be mean to you for Jesus’ sake. That is not what it really means.
Jesus lived in a very different world than we live in. That culture believed in honour and shame. Anything you did that was bad would bring shame to you and your family, and anything you did that was good would bring honour to you and your family. People took this kind of behaviour very seriously. But as we know, Jesus wanted to change the world, not keep things the same as they were.
When Jesus said ‘if someone slaps you, give them the other cheek to slap too’, what he was really telling his people was to stand up to the shame culture. You see, anyone who was more important could slap you. So men could slap women in public, bosses could slap employees, everyone could slap children and slaves, but only on one cheek, and only by hitting them with the back of the hand one time. By offering the other cheek, what Jesus was saying was to shame them for their poor behaviour of hitting. It did not mean accept for more abuse and mistreatment. You shamed the hitting person by not bowing away and leaving. By standing tall you broke the accepted ritual of hitting and shamed the person who hit you, instead of being shamed yourself.
Jesus wants us to change the world, and little actions help to do that.