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Published by glennpease

' Whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek,
turn to him the other also.' — Matt. v. 39.

' Whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek,
turn to him the other also.' — Matt. v. 39.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 11, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE SECOND BLOWBY JAMES MOFFATT B.D., D.D.' Whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek,turn to him the other also.' — Matt. v. 39.There is a Spanish proverb that ' hewho gives the second blow beginsthe quarrel.' Jesus also throws thiswarning against retaliation into aproverbial form. He was fond of putting great principles vividly, with-out qualification or condition, in orderto make His hearers think and re-member. A paradox arrests theattention, and this word is shapedand coloured for that purpose. Itis meant to fix in the Christian2122 SECOND THINGS OF LIFEconscience the supreme duty of re-fusing to pay back evil in its owncoin or to meet the world with itsown weapons of insult and injury.If there must be a second blow, saidJesus, don't let it come from you.Don't allow ill-treatment to provokeyou, upon any pretext, into an attitudeof exasperation and revenge.A blow on the cheek is seldomdangerous ; it is not even very painful,as a rule. But it is invariably a gross
and deliberate insult, which in themodern as in the ancient world hasbeen held to demand reparation, froma blow in return or an angry remons-trance to a duel. Philosophers fromSocrates to Seneca held that the wiseman should be too proud to take anynotice of such malevolence. A secondTHE SECOND BLOW 23blow, they taught, would demean theman who gave it. Jesus inaugurateda new moral epoch by introducing ahigher motive for such conduct, andhis prohibition of the second blow isbound up with the positive teachingof Christian love to one's enemiesand opponents which dominates thissection of the Sermon on the Mount.To him that smiteth thee on the onecheek, turn the other also. These arehard words, hard to understand, andharder to obey. They do not meanthat the injured party is to encouragethe other to fresh evil by putting,as it were, further opportunity of mischief in his way. Only a pedantor a fanatic or a captious critic couldso misconceive the thought of Jesus.His words are a graphic, Oriental24 SECOND THINGS OF LIFEprohibition, not only of the expressionbut of the very feeling of spite and
exasperation which hopes to recoilupon the offender. No one can helpresenting such an indignity, for whilean insult is not an injury to the bodyit wounds our honour and our self-respect, and he would be a poorcreature who did not wince under it.Jesus Himself resented injustice.But the pith and point of what Heteaches here is, as Professor Denneyputs it, ' That there is no limit to belaid down beforehand beyond whichlove is not to regulate the conduct of his disciples. No provocation can beso insulting, no demand can be sounjust, so irrational, so exasperating,as that his disciples shall be entitledto cast love overboard and meetTHE SECOND BLOW 25the world with weapons like itsown.'Notice the precise danger whichJesus has in view. It is just be-cause the blow on the cheek is notdangerous that the resentment whichit arouses is particularly apt to shootup into a red flame of ill-will. Angeris, in its essence, a form of instinctiveself- protection against injury. Itdoes not necessarily imply malice orspite or revenge. When the injuredparty hits back, it is in the hope of putting a stop to any further aggres-sion from the same quarter, andalthough this action may develop

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