Forgiving & Turning the Other Cheek is Bad for Your Physical & Mental Health How turning the other cheek messed me up physically & mentally

Growing up Catholic, the concept of forgiveness was deeply ingrained in my psyche. According to the Bible, if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!

Forgiving & Turning the Other Cheek is Bad for Your Physical & Mental Health
Forgiveness is not always healing

Innocence Destroyed By Forgiving

As an innocent girl, I tried to live up to the teachings of Jesus the Savior. And I went on turning my cheek, trying to be the nice sweet, polite girl my mother had brought me up to be. Striving to obey and respect all and sundry, particularly the elders in the family, even though they did not care, forget to care, they were outright abusive. I was abused physically, emotionally, and sexually.

And according to the Savior, I was not supposed to retaliate. So I just allowed my perpetrators to be released of any responsibility, accountability, repentance, and atonement. They were free of guilt or remorse as they did not grasp that had done wrong because I behaved nicely to them, pleased them, and did what they wanted. I was a People Pleaser, even when they trampled on my needs and feelings. I went on turning the other cheek.

Suppressed Pain & Anger

And so the hurt, pain anger, and rage had to be suppressed and stuffed. I pushed the wounds deep inside me, they were covered up, blocked in my emotional right brain. The emotional wound was covered with thick scar tissue that blocked my normal growth both emotionally and physically. Like when a tree has been cut and bruised and neglected, it grows into a shriveled, pathetic specimen.

In his book The Divided Mind, Dr. John  E. Sarno reveals how the interaction between the generally reasonable, rational, ethical, moral conscious mind and the repressed feelings of emotional pain, hurt, sadness, and anger characteristic of the unconscious mind appears to be the basis for mind-body disorders. Gradually I realized that unless I changed my beliefs about the world, I was going to kill myself or die prematurely.

Misinterpreted Bible

I realized that either the people who wrote the Bible misinterpreted the words of Jesus. Or Jesus did not know the real world. That not resisting evil only makes evil grow, secondly, we are emotional beings, and being unjustly treated and abused makes us feel morally angry.

We are right to protect ourselves by telling the person off or physically stopping the abuse or just walking away. When I think of the years wasted thinking that being good and tolerating abuse would make me a saint and lead me to heaven.

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song

Forgiving Not The Way

How naive I was to believe that by forgiving and not resisting evil, Jesus would come down from heaven to save me. Punish the wicked people in my life. And I waited in vain, gradually  I came to the painful realization that unless I did something to help myself, either I would end up killing myself or die prematurely.
It has been a painful realization that I  wasted a major chunk of my life believing something which nearly destroyed me. I could no longer accept Jesus as the savior of this evil world. The least one can do in the face of evil is not to turn the other cheek but to turn on one’s heel and get out, which I finally did. It really saved my life.
Image Source: Pixabay

Further Reading:

Surrounded by Idiots – Thomas Erikson 

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Filip Ranogajec
Filip Ranogajec
3 years ago

I truly sympathize with you. I had similar issues with bullies at school. It lasted for 5 years. I prayed that it stops, but for nothing. No answer or any sign from God. Today, when I finally decided to look into that saying, “turn the other cheek”, and came upon someone whom I asked about it and stating my thoughts about it, when he told me that it is “unchristian” of me, I realized that it is simply infatuated passion for… I don’t even know who or what, and how to even call it anymore. You’re NOT alone in your pain. I have always been of the opinion that only those who have experienced the same or similar can say so. Although it’s full of pain, this was a wonderful testimony to me. I hope you have found your peace now. If a desire for justice for the committed injustice is against Christianity, then them and their “Christianity” can go to HELL! Long live, soulmate.

Last edited 3 years ago by Filip Ranogajec
Filip Ranogajec
Filip Ranogajec
Reply to  Cheryl
3 years ago

I will, thank you. Every word you said is true. Indeed I was, and still am, pissed about the fact that I was the wronged party in my case, and I was being treated by those who were supposed to do something about it, the school staff, like I was the wrong-doer. Nobody should go thru anything like that or similar. For a long time I thought I was alone. No help, no support, even from my loved ones in family… But, I’m still here, and so are you. Hopefully our two examples will give hope to others in similar situations. Thank you for your reply as well. Good luck!

Last edited 3 years ago by Filip Ranogajec