What it Really Means to Turn the Other Cheek

Love Photo by D Sharon Pruitt

This world is not easy. People are imperfect. And we will get hurt. What do we do when that happens? I quietly asked that question in the dark of a worship service recently. I could still feel the sting of recent wounds by other women. {Yes, that kind of thing happens to me too.}

“God,” I whispered in my heart, “I know I need to love and forgive but what does that really mean?”

And this came to mind: “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” {Matt. 5:38}.

When someone smacks you, the instant and unavoidable response is to turn away from them. They’ve forced you to do so. But what you do after that moment changes everything. To turn the other cheek means you must turn back toward that other person. You must look them in the eyes again. Then you place yourself in a position of vulnerability by not only refusing to retaliate but offering your other cheek also.


Close your eyes for a moment and picture that. Someone smacks you. You turn back toward them and look at them with love. Then you choose to keep being vulnerable rather than becoming defensive. That’s not how I want to respond in those moments. Instead I want to fight back or run away. But Jesus says to stand and stay. And not only that but to love. Love gets looked on as something soft in our culture. But I’m telling you, friend, love is fierce and strong and courageous. And there’s no way I can love like that without Jesus.

I will not let my heart stay turned away from my sisters–even when I’m wounded. And I will never raise my sword against them. Instead I will use my words to fight the true enemy of all our hearts every chance I get.

I walked out of that worship service with tears slipping down my cheeks. The cheeks that, with God’s help, I was ready to turn toward others as many times as it took for love to win the battle.


Holley Gerth


p.s. If you are in a physically abusive situation that’s a totally different scenario. Withdrawing from an abusive person until they show true change is loving because it stops a pattern that’s destructive for them too. Please make sure you’re safe.

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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