Jerusalem, David Roberts, lithograph 1839
‘If someone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also’. I sincerely hope that the Christians who hear what I am going to say about this phrase will forgive me, for it goes far beyond anything they could ever imagine. Let me assure them, at once, that the future will prove that my interpretation of it is the right one.
Certain moral precepts which were valid in the past are no longer right or useful for the present or the future. Jesus’ words do not mean that we must always be passive in the face of insults and ill-treatment. He was not telling us always to accept and submit to violence and put up with every torment and, in the long run, allow ourselves to be wiped out.
Jesus introduced a new moral code – to cultivate the qualities of the heart
At the time of Jesus, people needed to develop certain qualities and virtues which had never been emphasized before that; qualities such as indulgence, forgiveness and mercy. At the time, the code was one of justice, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
The new moral code that Christ introduced was designed to encourage human beings to cultivate the qualities of the heart. Instead of reacting to others with such crude weapons as stones or knives or the sword, they had to learn to respond with nobler, loftier means; with humility, love, patience and magnanimity.
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
The Bonfin, September 12, 1963
Complete Works, Volume 12, Cosmic Moral Law
Image: Lithograph by David Roberts, Jerusalem from the Direction of the Tomb of Absalom, April 1839