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.

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We are talking about ass cheeks, right? More seriously...

Should one always turn the other cheek? Sometimes. Not always. For one thing, a harsh retaliatory response might be what the other party is seeking to get from you, in which case you are being  their puppet if you don't turn the other cheek. One needs to gauge which type of response serves one's self-interest best, unless some other sort of interest is the primary consideration.

Its not always the right thing to do. Some people just plain and simple do NOT deserve to be forgiven

I found that if I do the right thing and live a life of right choices for myself, and have boundaries that it will have an affect on the people around me. Perhaps distance from you family and their gatherings might be a good thing and in time those who are ready will come to you and involve themselves in your life. Why participate in the dysfunction. Your husband is your family also.

I really know how you feel. I effectively lost my family years ago and I still don't know how to deal with it. My ex-husband's family filled the hole, but now I'm divorced and find I have exactly two people I can count on. This does not exactly bode for happy holidays. My boyfriend moved from states away to be with me, and doesn't plan on really going to see his family often if at all.

That said, would you be able to spend holidays with your mother and her side of the family? I can't imagine your brother showing up there, and you could have your husband there too! Maybe at most pop in to say hi with other gathering and leave when your brother shows up/if he is there already.

I don't think forgiveness has much to do with the forgiven as it does with the forgiver.  I do not equate forgiveness with condoning whatever someone has done.  If I forgive that person, I don't suffer from the anger.  It doesn't matter to me whether the person knows it or not.

Is that turning the other cheek?  I don't know.  I might forgive somebody emotionally, but that doesn't mean that everything is alright between us.  Recently, a family member conned my daughter into getting a cell phone for him.  She was trying to help him, but it was doomed from the start.  As predicted, he did not pay and there was a collection agency after my daughter.  She is just about to graduate from college and can't afford to have a collection account on her credit - so I paid it.  I was not happy. 

I told myself that I should not pay it if I would be angry about it.  I have to let it go.  There is no taking this family member to court or threatening him.  He is a heroin addict and has burned every bridge he had.  So, when I start to get angry, I have to forgive him, for my sake.  I also need to not allow that to happen again.  It is turning the other cheek, but to accomplish what I need to accomplish - giving my daughter a better chance to get off on a good footing in life.  Unfortunately, my daughter needs to not do it again, because I am not going to do it again.  It's turning the other cheek, but not, at the same time. 

Living well is the best revenge.  This is just money, I know, but it really pissed me off.  I have had to work really hard to forgive others who did much worse.  Again, that is for my sake, not theirs.

Much truth and wisdom, Diane...Living well IS the best revenge.


Love your enemies and abandon your family (no thought for the morrow), drop everything and just blindly follow Jesus. What a sick and twisted belief system. 

I like to think of the phrase, "Turn the other cheek," as a euphemism for Kiss my ass. Changes the light of the topic a bit, don't you think?

Personally, I like the forgive but don't forget. It depends a lot upon the situation and if it is liveable. Your wife's mother definitely should have stood up for herself. I sort of understand where she was coming from, I stayed in a relationship out of sheer stubbornness for years. I felt that I should only leave if I no longer loved him. Eventually I realized sometimes you need to do things for yourself even if that means hurting those you love. I try to still keep in contact and help him through the situation that I could no longer deal with on a daily basis, but I've moved on with my own life.

People have issues, and I have a weird perspective where more often then not I can understand why they could be so negative. It doesn't mean you have to voluntarily expose yourself to the negative person or situation. The way I see it, if they want help, I will try to help or find someone who can. If they refuse to change/seek help, then all you can do is try to distance yourself until they see a different way.

I forgive, but I remember that (insert name) is unreliable because of (insert problem) and don't put myself in situations where I rely on what they most likely can't return on. As far as those who are verbally or physically abusive? I stick to email and letters for the people who are important in my life, like my mother and grandmother, that I don't want to remove entirely. I don't intend to ever spend more then a weekend in their presence ever again, and if it even goes that far, I'm staying at a hotel or making them do so.

As for prison-able offenses, I used to think if someone lands themselves in prison they are a horrible person. My ex-husband is now serving time (he's been in 3 years now out of at least 6 he'll spend actually incarcerated out of his sentence) for what I see as an accident. Considering no one even implied he did what he did on purpose, I am not alone and only 4 people in the room where happy with how long his sentence was. Anyway. I have a harsher opinion of people who intentionally commit crimes, but I think prison itself is usually not the best option.

Death sentence? I'm pragmatic about it. It is expensive to feed and house people for life in prison and our prisons are overloaded. When I visited my ex-husband in prison, there were people from New York (I'm in Maine, btw) visiting loved ones who had been shipped to here because they didn't have room for them locally. For serious offenders, at least the death penalty would clear up a bed here and there. I'd rather we find a way for people to repay society then lock them up as a default sentence. It shouldn't be "How long will they spend in jail/prison?" it should be "What can they do to repay society and are they safe to be in society? Could they be with rehab?" That sort of thing.

And now I've gone on for pages! *Rant rant rant...blush* Hope this helps.

I also thought that it was very expensive to feed and house people for life and used that as an argument in favor of the death sentence but was told that when they had it in New York State it actually cost the tax payer more money. Apparently all the appeals and the process is very expensive. That being said i think that a bigger problem is the whole prison system itself.It seems it has become a business and they are trying to keep the jails full. Corporate America at its best. I know this has nothing to do with the topic, sorry.

How do you forgive someone that has not asked for forgiveness? How do you forgive them if they have shown no remorse or are likely to do the same again to you in the future?

I think you can move on without forgiving them if they have not earned it. Letting go of the anger or hurt they may have caused you is possible but “forgiveness” is not the word for it. You can decide that you have had enough of that person impacting on your life and your emotions and just tell yourself to move on. You can forget without forgiving. You can allow yourself to drop the matter and move it into the past but still not forgive them. That does not mean you become bitter towards them. It means you consider the matter closed to the point where you have moved on but the offender knows you have not forgiven them. They must ask for it.

Forgiveness must come with closure for both parties. Are you really in a position to be gracious to a person that has upset you if they have not asked for it? They might not even care about the results of their actions towards you. No vicarious redemption. That is for Christians. We want people to take responsibility for their own actions and to take steps towards making amends. The first step is for them to admit they have wronged you and then to ask for your forgiveness as they apologize to you. Then you are in a position to forgive them for they have earned it.


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