I believe that a great misunderstanding of Jesus’ words involves the notion that he meant to give in. If someone strikes you, and in this day and age that usually happens in figurative sense, they are trying to get you to do something. Jesus understood that, and I think he is really saying not to give in to a show of force. He wants you to do what you believe is right. He also forces the question are you really in danger? So often we are not. We often could handle more pain and we should try if that is what it takes to do the right thing. If you can’t handle it, and turning the other cheek means you will be less equipped to do the right thing, then don’t turn the other cheek.
The bigger question is – what is the right thing? It isn’t always easy to know, but we are expected to do our very best.
The bar has been raised.