“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
We refer to the saying “go the extra mile” quite often in our day to day speech. It is usually in reference to the attitude of a person who really cares about the task at hand and is willing to make an exceptional effort to do something really well. I would like to share a story from a conversation I had recently with some of my old co-workers who are not Christians; I will change their names so they remain anonymous. I hope the story helps us understand that Jesus words in Matthew 5 are still very relevant in our lives today.
My co-worker Mike and I were discussing another co-worker of ours named Jim. Mike said that he thought Jim was a bit of a strange person, but he really liked him because, out of all the people he works with, Jim was the only person who would, without fail, greet Mike every time he saw him in passing at the office. It wasn’t anything special but Mike really appreciated that Jim would always say “Hello Mike! How’s it going?” Mike felt that Jim cared about and respected him as a person and that was something that he appreciated enough to share with me.
This conversation got me thinking about my walk as a Christian. Mike admitted that even though Jim was a bit of a strange guy, he was able to see past that because of his genuine caring attitude. As Christians we will no doubt be seen as “strange” by the world around us but this conversation helped me to see that an attitude of love will still make us attractive to those around us who need to hear the gospel. Jesus exhorts us to “go the extra mile” for a reason and that is because we will stand out if we do so. It may take a while but I believe if we continue to show love (even in small ways) to those around us we will open up opportunities to share the gospel. Small acts of love make a difference in a world that is big on hate.
Hebrews 12:14 says “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” This verse makes me think about another saying we use a lot: “Actions speak louder than words”. As we strive to share the gospel let’s remember how important it is to live in a way that reflects the love of God into the world and pray for opportunities to share with those around us.
Written by Myles MacMillan, Minister, Central Church of Christ