What Does “Turn the Other Cheek” Mean?

I have often heard confusing and confused uses of “turn the other cheek.” The saying seems so imbalanced and out of touch with reality, as it circulates around the world, out of context and isolated. Someone gets punched, and he is told to turn the other cheek.

I also hear pacifists say this to the government when it is about to respond to an attack. “Jesus said to ‘turn the other cheek.’ So how can we commit an act of violence in response?” It’s that last application I’m concerned about.

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