[Disclaimer: The posted passage leaves out verses 5:44-48 – the entire section on ‘love your enemies’. I know these things happen, but my type A questioning of “what did they really mean?” – throws me for a loop. You know the last line of that segment is “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Let me rest in “perfect” as in complete not as in perfectionist! (Cue the music) “Let it go….”]
“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 the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”
These are the verses God has challenged me with this year. “…the one who is evil” has a connotation of hurtful rather than what I might think when I see the word: evil. Hurtful people are the more likely ones I run in to.
So, how are they hurtful? They bang into the controls and my life gets wobbly. They ask for things that stretch me. They need more than I can fix or manage. They take away from my comfort. They are not what I signed on for. They drain my emotional tank and bring fear to my door. Oh, and did I say they have impossible needs? They want a hug and comfort and help.
Let me say, I am not the bank or Mother Teresa —- and I am not my own. (I would really rather be the bank.)
And you know what “not being my own” does? It is slowly is pushing me to the end of myself and asking me – no – forcing me to trust the One who promises to meet every need, mend every heart, love beyond comprehension and measure.
He must increase, but I must decrease. ~ John the Baptist (John 3:30)
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” …“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:17-19