I was bullied as a child. A lot. And every time my schoolyard bullies tormented me, I obeyed the teachings of Jesus and turned the other cheek.
The problem with turning the other cheek is: it doesn’t work. Not with bullies. Not even with Catholic school bullies. Because bullies don’t consult the “Good Book” before they do bad things.
So, day after day, when I turned my other cheek, my schoolyard bullies saw it as weakness and punched my other cheek.
After years of being terrorized like this, and wishing in vain that my bullies would go away or tire of tormenting me, I finally decided to disobey Jesus and change tactics. I grabbed the biggest, meanest bully by the throat, slammed him against a wall, lifted him off the ground, and breathed my warning into his shocked and trembling face. I can’t remember what I said to him. But I knew, from the terrified look in his eyes, that he believed every damn word of it. Because I spoke to him in the language that he understood. The language of the bully.
My years of torment ended in that moment. I was never bullied again.
That was my first big break with the teachings of Jesus. Because turning the other cheek to a bully – whether in a schoolyard or on the world stage – never, ever works.
Just ask any kid. Or any Jew.