Tag Archives: Justice

Do You Turn a Blind Eye or Turn the Other Cheek?


Turn The Other Cheek

There have been a few incidents that have happened in various environments that I am involved with that made me stop and ask myself, “Have I been turning a blind eye or have I been turning the other cheek?” I think this is a question we should all stop and ask ourselves sometimes.

To honestly ask yourself this question, it’s best to take a look at the meaning of both of these phrases and actions.

Turn a blind eye: “An idiom describing the ignoring of undesirable information.” Source: Wikipedia

Turn the other cheek: This requires a much longer explanation and can’t be simplified into one sentence, so I opted instead, to quote a few paragraphs from Marcus Borg as found on Belief.net

“The key to understanding Wink’s argument is rigorous attention to the social customs of the Jewish homeland in the first century and what these sayings would have meant in that context.

To illustrate with the saying about turning the other cheek: it specifies that the person has been struck on the right cheek. How can you be struck on the right cheek? As Wink emphasizes, you have to act this out in order to get the point: you can be struck on the right cheek only by an overhand blow with the left hand, or with a backhand blow from the right hand. (Try it).

But in that world, people did not use the left hand to strike people. It was reserved for “unseemly” uses [Wiping one’s self after having a bowel movement]. Thus, being struck on the right cheek meant that one had been backhanded with the right hand. Given the social customs of the day, a backhand blow was the way a superior hit an inferior, whereas one fought social equals with fists.

This means the saying presupposes a setting in which a superior is beating a peasant. What should the peasant do? “Turn the other cheek.” What would be the effect? The only way the superior could continue the beating would be with an overhand blow with the fist–which would have meant treating the peasant as an equal.

Perhaps the beating would not have been stopped by this. But for the superior, it would at the very least have been disconcerting: he could continue the beating only by treating the peasant as a social peer. As Wink puts it, the peasant was in effect saying, “I am your equal. I refuse to be humiliated anymore.”
Source: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2004/04/What-Would-Jesus-Think-Of-Kings-Protests.aspx?p=1

It is tempting and often times easier to turn a blind eye to injustice and other wrongs we witness being committed against others. This past lent I have once again been reminded that Jesus does not want us to turn a blind eye, instead, he has commanded us to turn the other cheek. It isn’t easy to do, and it comes with a cost which is why it is often the option least likely to be chosen.

Jesus calls us to not retaliate. Justice is not a form of retaliation. Jesus doesn’t expect us to be docile and allow ourselves to be abused, discriminated against, and systemically oppressed. However, what he does tell us is that injustice exists, and we can fight against it without resorting to violence, bloodshed, and physical injury.

When we live in an unjust society, we still have to go to work for corrupt employers, we still need to follow certain laws that are passed, and we still have to deal with dishonest institutions who are often ready to discriminate against certain populations. If we spend our time fighting injustice with constant community violence, we take away from being able to use our minds and skills to change our culture from one of injustice to one of justice and inclusion.

When it comes to dealing with atrocities in our communities, I truly believe that Jesus is asking us to use our minds instead of our weapons. Have an open mind, be willing to sit at the table with a diverse group of thinkers and together create a legal and social society where violence is not a necessary way for living. When we use our minds, we might never have to pick up a weapon to strike our oppressor and those who discriminate against us.

Show Respect To Others


How do you respond to uncomfortable situations involving discrimination and systemic oppression? Could it be categorized as “turning a blind eye” or “turning the other cheek”?

What are ways that you can deal with others in a non-violent manner while fighting for respect, justice, and rights?

If you haven’t already read all of Matthew 5, I highly recommend it. If you’ve read it in the past, it’s still a great chapter to review, these teachings are never outdated or irrelevant.


The Blessing of: Uncomfortable Christianity

Source: Jesus is Afflicted by Astrid
Source: Jesus is Afflicted by Astrid

One Word 365

My One Word


Last week I spent an intense and very educational week learning and exploring the theme of Land and Justice from a Christian perspective. I enjoyed this time of applied theology because of the varied discussions and daily self-inventory, yet, at the conclusion of our time together some of us did not have an answer to the question of how we relate to land and justice as Christians and what we could do to address any troublesome issues regarding how to care for God’s creation.

I couldn’t help but reflect on the painful history of how the early Christians applied their understanding of land and justice when colonizing North America. The land was taken away from Native Americans through deceptive means and the taking of their lives. The land was then tended to and developed by African-American slaves and eventually indentured servants were added to the labour. For the longest time I couldn’t understand why Christians were uncomfortable with the history of our continent. Why was the story of our continent developed into delightful and heroic historical narratives based on non-truths? What was it that made Christian culture avoid revisiting the truth of its history with this land we call North America?

The only conclusion, and this is a partial conclusion, that I could surmise, is the belief that mainstream Christianity avoids uncomfortable truths. The gospel is filled with examples of people who were uncomfortable with Jesus’ teachings, but it didn’t stop him, he just kept on preaching and teaching. If the teachings of Jesus were comfortable, it would not have been effective. When we are confronted with the need to change our beliefs or our actions we experience a certain uneasiness.

As individuals and as a cultural community; what would happen if our Christian culture taught us to be brave enough to face the uncomfortableness of having our non-truths challenged by fellow Christians? What would this look like in our culture? What would we gain, what would we lose?

How do you deal with the modern day methods of Jesus, and by methods I mean that Jesus was:

Forthright in his interactions with his religious community

Cognizant of the ethnic and religious disparity and injustice among his people

Not afraid to correct the incorrect teachings of the religious leaders in his synagogue

Filled with compassion for those who were oppressed, shunned, and despised by his ethnic community

Amazing enough to extend his love to those who gave him lip-service, called for his death, ignored him, and discredited him for speaking and practicing biblical truth

Jesus’ entire ministry and life was filled with engaging people in those uncomfortable truths. People were uncomfortable with the idea that yes, they too could be forgiven, embraced, and loved by God. There were those who were uncomfortable with being told that what they thought was biblically true was actually misunderstood. Some were uncomfortable with being challenged about power imbalances within the religious community. There were twelve who were uncomfortable with Jesus’ explanation as  to what God had called him and them to accomplish here on this earth.

From Genesis to Revelation I see how God’s revelations and truth created uncomfortableness within and among those who believed in Him. Developing meaningful faith in our relationship with God involves varying levels of discomfort in our devotion to living in a manner that we define as Christ-like.


We all have different areas where we experience religious and spiritual discomfort, but I want to pose this question to you for self-reflection and without judgement.

On the Stages of Change, where would you say you were at when it comes to facing spiritual discomfort in relation to being open to hearing and addressing the issues of land and injustice within our Christian culture and communities?

Would you be able to address issues of land and injustice using the same methods as Jesus did within his own community?

Stages of Change Cycle
Stages of Change Cycle

 stages of change


Prayerfully consider how you view the correlation between land and justice from a Christian perspective.

Ask God to reveal to you any topics of justice that cause you discomfort. Pray for His spirit to guide you to safe people, resources, or places that can help you process your discomfort.

Be easy with yourself, we all have spiritual challenges in being people who seek and practice biblical justice.  God will continue to show us the injustices of this world and He will be there with us as we move towards a Micah 6: 6-8 life of faith in Him.


Communion with Jesus
Communion with Jesus

Advent Day 7: Jesus Reveals Himself in our Actions

love and peace

How fortunate and blessed are we, that we have a god whose love is so big that He asks us to share that love with others. He cares so much about His creation that He sent Jesus to us to show us a living example of what that love looks like in action. Jesus in no longer literally on earth with us today, but His teachings and His spirit are here with us. We continue to see Jesus in action when believers carry out His commandment to love God, love others, and to do so through actions of justice, peace, and reconciliation; these are the living examples of God’s love. 

I enjoyed reading the liturgy (below) on the Sacredise website. There is a link for those who want to read it in its entirety; which I highly recommend. 


I encourage you to read the liturgy below and following that, pray for anyone in your life or someone who you admire from a far who is running the race set before them. Pray for that person(s), that they may have continued strength, passion, encouragement and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to guide them as they serve others by way of justice, peace, and reconciliation. It is not easy work and they need our prayers.  


We Gather

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 – NLT)

Eternal God,

In your infinite love for women and men,

you incarnated yourself in Christ,

and revealed your nature and your purpose to us;

In your infinite love for poor and wealthy,

you laid aside your glory

and walked among us as one of us;

In your infinite love for every race and tribe and nation,

you brought a new world into being

and taught us to live as citizens of God’s Reign;

But, you have not stopped incarnating yourself,

you still reveal yourself and your Reign of love and justice

to all who will see,

and to all who open their hearts and lives to you.

We praise and thank you, O God,

for the people through whom you reveal yourself still;

for those who give themselves to build a world

based on the values of your reign

of love, justice, peace and reconciliation.