Turning the Other Cheek


Then David went over to the other side and stood far off on the top of the hill, with a great space between them. And David called to the army, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, “Will you not answer, Abner?” Then Abner answered, “Who are you who calls to the king?” And David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? Who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not kept watch over your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy the king your lord. This thing that you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, you deserve to die, because you have not kept watch over your lord, the Lord’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is and the jar of water that was at his head.”

Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.” And he said, “Why does my lord pursue after his servant? For what have I done? What evil is on my hands? Now therefore let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If it is the Lord who has stirred you up against me, may he accept an offering, but if it is men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day that I should have no share in the heritage of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the Lord, for the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea like one who hunts a partridge in the mountains.”

Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.” And David answered and said, “Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and take it. The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all tribulation.” Then Saul said to David, “Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place. I Samuel 26:13-25 ESV

[Jesus said]: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:38-41 ESV


Shermy and Linus warned Charlie Brown that the girls were very angry with him and were looking for him. Shermy told Charlie Brown that he’d better get out of town! But a moment later three angry girls came up to Charlie Brown, yelling furiously. “What have you got to say for yourself?” they demanded. Charlie Brown didn’t get angry back at them or try to fight them. He just said, “Nothing. You girls are absolutely right, and I’m glad to hear you feel this way.” That was the end of the fight. The girls didn’t know what to do, because Charlie Brown didn’t act in the way they expected him to.

Jesus calls this kind of behavior “turning the other cheek.” This means when someone hurts us, we don’t need to try to hurt them back. This is the way David acted toward Saul. He had stolen Saul’s spear, a spear that Saul had tried to kill him with in the past, and now he actually returned this spear to Saul. Saul had been hunting David down, trying to kill him, but when David had the chance, he didn’t kill Saul. David showed that he trusted God to take care of things for him, so he didn’t try to fight Saul. This wasn’t the behavior Saul expected. It made Saul sorry for the way he had behaved, and he promised he wouldn’t try to hunt or kill David anymore.

Turning the other cheek and not fighting with people who hurt us can be our way of showing our faith that God takes care of us and helps us. God showed his love for us by sending Jesus to die for us. We were God’s enemies because of our sin, fighting with God and working against him. But God didn’t punish us the way we deserve. He let Jesus take the punishment for us. Jesus didn’t fight the people who put him on the cross, but went to his death so that our sins could be forgiven. He’s with us every day with his love and forgiveness, and helps us to share that same love and forgiveness with others.


Dear Jesus, thank you for giving us better than we ever deserved–your great love and forgiveness. Help us to share it with others. Amen.


Schulz, Charles M. The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962 Seattle: Fantagraphics Books, 2006, p. 148.