Hubby's sermon this past Sunday was entitled "Going Beyond One Mile" and was taken from Matt 5:38-42: 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 someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
This passage is tough to deal with no matter how you approach it. No one wants to suffer treatment that they feel is unjust. We are all quick to seek or at least desire revenge. Be that as it may, I had an "aha" moment as hubby was preaching.
He focused on the last portion of the text for much of his sermon (which is kind of obvious from the title I guess!). There was a law in the Roman Empire than any citizen of an occupied territory could be made to carry a Roman citizen's burden one mile. Jesus is telling his followers to go farther than the law demands. In one of his illustrations of what "second mile" behavior would look like, he made this statement - I need to be willing to sacrifice "my rights" for Jesus. In other words, stop focusing on me and what "my rights" are and seek to show a behavior that is NOT focused on revenge or even self-preservation.
The more I think about the concept of "my rights", the more I am struck by the fact that an attitude of "looking out for number one" is probably at the core of every relational conflict I have ever experienced. I don't like it when I have to do more work around the house than my family members, I certainly don't like it when hubby gets to go have fun with friends (usually on a golf course) while I stay at home cleaning/doing laundry/being responsible. After all, I have my rights! Wow. If I could just get my focus off of myself and what I feel my rights are, if I could start looking at each dish that is washed, each floor that is swept, as an act of love and service - as a "second mile" response - I might find myself being far less touchy and defensive. And I know my heavenly Father would be pleased with "second mile" behavior that ministers to those he has placed in my home!
If only the lesson were as easy to apply as it is to think about! I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to another one of those things I have to commit to each and every day! A magic pill would be so much easier!