Matthew 5: 38-41
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.
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In a revenge-seeking culture, we are more resistant to this method of conflict management than ever before. Service is interpreted as weakness and weakness is trampled underfoot. The only pinpoint in human history where this didn't go as expected was the cross of Jesus Christ. This little insurrection against the authority of Rome was squashed by the trial, public humiliation, torture and execution of its leader. But then, these rumors spread like wildfire that Jesus had risen from the dead. Jesus was forced to go the one mile to his death. Incredibly, he went the second mile to his life. There is no doubt that the wilderness between the first and second mile is dark and hopeless as a tomb. But this mile is not filled with violent words or actions, ugliness and revenge. This second mile is a way of life that takes all that we have to bargain with - eyes, teeth, cheeks, money, dignity - and gives it back to us whole and alive. We are invited to be the people of the second mile.
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Holy God, give us the courage to go a different way. Amen.