It’s payback time! On Tuesday this week, I talked about idioms—phrases that illustrate ideas. These phrases aren’t meant to be taken literally, like, “The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife” or “I’m about to swing into action.” I could play this game all day (another one!), sorry, I’ll move on.

Today I’m continuing Tuesday’s thoughts about the users in life. You’ll recall my friend had mentioned that he was tired of the users “who just kept taking.”

You know those users, the haters, takers, liars, and generally odious people you come across who treat you badly for no real reason–and they seem to enjoy it. They’re out there. And so far, they’re not going away. So get ready for this etymology lesson about turning the other cheek, because I’m about to get Biblical on you, yes, Biblical, and I won’t waste time apologizing because there’s a misconception here that’s more important: It’s an idiom. This comes from Matthew 5, and it’s about, of all things, giving.

“If an evil person slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them your left cheek also.”

You see that word also? It holds the key to the entire meaning. In essence, offer them the other cheek to slap. It does not mean turn and walk away. Instead, it says give. Stand your ground and offer more.

It also does not suggest that you knowingly victimize yourself. Turning the other cheek is an illustration of behavior under extreme circumstances, when pushed to the very limit, not literal and everyday occurrences. Idiomatic.

Turning the other cheek is a tool for expressing that you know what you’re up against and can look it in the eye for what it is. Turning the other cheek is a concept that shows your character. And it’s a lesson that points to giving.

Think of the power in that. Users, beware.


My book, Upside Down Kingdom, was taught in a college Humanities course its first year in print. The course examined art, love, music, religion, and the way we treat one another as human beings. UDK was required reading. It’s on Amazon.

This concludes, for now, the Recompense Series. Tomorrow we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming of “anything goes.” And if you’re in the area, stop by the Cannon River Winery, where I’ll be signing books in the afternoon as part of their Third Annual Local Authors Book Day.