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Nov 9 Go the extra mile

Matt 5: 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go ~~ with him two.

Some of Jesus’s commands seem unfair, abusive, and unmanly. Also, in His time, the Roman army imposed a law that a soldier could obligate any citizen to carry his load for a thousand paces, or a Roman mile (i.e., 4,854 ft.). Simon of Cyrene was asked to carry the cross of Jesus to Calvary (Matt 27:32; Mark 15:21). The Jews hated this law because it forced them to demonstrate their subjection to Rome. Peace in the political realm was so important that Jesus commanded His followers to “be continually going with him two” miles. The believer is to bear cheerfully what is an interference with his activities or is unseasonable and distasteful, while giving more time and effort than expected.

Paul reiterates this series of responses with the following precepts: “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men . . . live peaceably with all men . . . do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink’” (Rom 12:17–-20).

Jesus shocked his disciples with His demand “not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matt 5:39). Another tough command to follow is this: “if anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also” (5:40). Paul took this command seriously for the churches: “Even to have such lawsuits with one another is a defeat for you. Why not just accept the injustice and leave it at that? Why not let yourselves be cheated?” (1 Cor 6:7).

Jesus never demanded something of His followers that He did not demonstrate and practice, as “when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet 2:23). Can you trust God to make things right or to retaliate in His time and manner?

We must not fight for our rights. The believer lives in, and is being prepared for, another kingdom where retaliation will not exist and where forgiveness is as common as daylight. This is what makes a believer in Jesus unique.

“Dear Lord, I trust You to keep records and make things right as I learn to give up my personal rights in order to communicate Your message.”

In order to practice this command today, I am going to . . .

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