Double It!

Walking down a dusty road

photo by Kate Boydell

In church, we’ve been in a series from the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5. This week, part of the discussion involved verse 41. This is the verse that states in the NIV “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”

This verse is part of the discussion that also includes turning the other cheek when someone wrongs you. On the surface, we understand what these verses are telling us. We must go above and beyond when we are wronged in order to show kindness to those that are oppressing us.

This is one verse however, where an understanding of the the time period is helpful. I’ve heard this in the past, and today our pastor reminded me of this fact. During that time period, the Jews were under Roman rule. Being a Roman citizen was given high regard under their system. One of the rules governing those who were not Roman citizens stated that if a Roman citizen told you to carry their load for them, you must carry it a mile for them, but then your obligation was met. Jesus is saying that we should do more than that.

Today something even further struck me. This was the Roman law. The law of the government. How many times have you heard Christians complaining about our laws? We’ve probably all complained about our taxes, haven’t we? Do you suppose Jesus would tell us to not just pay our 8%, but pay 16%?

And how about when you’re at a restaurant and receive poor service? Do you suppose Jesus would say, don’t just give them the 5% they deserve for their service, give them 30%. Keep in mind, Jesus has given us something we don’t deserve as well.

Now, I’m not suggesting you go and send in a check along with your taxes to double it. I do think it gives us something to think about however. This passage was specifically talking about how to deal with those that have wronged us. I believe if we are true Believers, and have the Spirit living within us, He will be our guide and point out to us when we need to remember these passages and how we are to react.

We don’t always know the reason behind the injustice, and maybe our reaction to it can have a positive impact on the one dealing out the injustice. Maybe that waitress has just been severely wronged by someone else and that 30% tip is just the thing to restore her faith.

Is there an area that you need to apply this to right now?