Is forgiving and turning the cheek the right thing to do.

I was watching Joel Olsteen this morning. Just because it stirs me up, maybe a bit of a masochist. He was talking about how we should honor people, even those that are not acting in a kind way. Then I got to thinking about boundaries and how turning the cheek and always looking at things with rose color glasses may not be the moral thing to do. My wife's mom was a great person and everybody loved her but her husband was abusive and she stuck around for the abuse. Should she not have stood up for herself and told him to take a hike. I remember Christopher Hitchens talking about the way Christians preach " love your enemy" and how that is a bad thing, that we must defend ourselves against those who are abusing us. I guess its a question of balance and i would be interested to see others opinion on this matter. I astounds me how some people can forgive someone who has say killed a loved one. Are these people better off because living with the hate would consume their lives or are they crazy? We can see how at some point, like with wars between countries, we need to move on.Does this only happen with forgiveness? Another strange thing is that usually left wing atheists don't believe in the death penalty but Christians do. I may be wrong on that one. I'm sure there are many posts related to this and i guess i should do more reading and less writing, I am new to this place.

Views: 1029

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Just as a quick one before I go off to lunch:  I think that forgiveness is a way of working with The Golden Rule.  Maybe you would like to take a look at my web page:

This too, from this page:

The teaching “love thy neighbour as thyself” is not only vague, but may also lead to mischievous consequences.  If a man love himself meanly, childishly, timidly, even so shall he love his neighbour.  If a man hate himself, it must follow that he hate others too.  The teaching of Buddhism is definite, and requires us to love ourselves with a love that is healthy and wise, that is large and complete.  To be effectually generous one must have a confident, tranquil and clear comprehension of all that one owes to one’s self.  If you are asked to love your enemy and return good for evil, it is because, as the Bodhicharyavatara says, “an enemy is one who is capable of helping you to acquire bodhi, if you can only love him.”   One should hate hatred and not the person who hates him.  This does not mean that one should show the left cheek, when smitten on the right, but it means that we must fight evil with good.  Passive non-resistance of evil is no morality at all.  The meekness of the lamb is praiseworthy, but if it could lead only to becoming a prey to the rapacity of the tiger, it is not worth possessing.

... A sound, good, fruitful self-love is the necessary basis for every virtue, and therefore also for a true, sound, good and fruitful love to others.  

P. Lakshmi Narasu – “The Essence of Buddhism”

"Is forgiving and turning the cheek the right thing to do?"


Thank you for sharing this and I hope other woman in that situation can have the same courage.

I think it depends on the situation and how much we need to protect ourselves.  I think that much of the time it's wise to forgive people because it can stop a cycle of conflict. 



As someone who has lost a loved one to violence I can tell you right now that you don't need to forgive everyone. It's also a ridiculous concept that someone who chooses not to forgive someone for wronging them is somehow "living with hate".  I don't hate the man who murdered my sister, but I do recognize that should he ever get out of prison, that he will likely be a threat to my family. It's pointless to forgive someone who doesn't recognize their own responsibility or attempt to either change their behavior or amend for the wrong they have done.

Forgiveness in my opinion is like trust. It's not something to be handed out undeservedly.

Thank you for sharing your story, I posted this for discussion and now I realize that there are real people who have experienced things like you have. I hope I did not bring up too many bad feelings for you and I appreciate the feedback and agree with you. I have often thought that people use forgiveness in order to not take responsibility for their actions. We need to be accountable here and know, not in some kind of made up judgement day when we die.

Yes, forgiveness has to be earned. 

There is an excellent documentary dealing with this subject, well worth an hour of your time if you're interested in this.

Al-Jazeera documentary “Bitter Root” - Two former Lord's Resistance Army commanders seek tribal justice in order to be granted atonement for their crimes.


© 2022   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service