October 17, 2013

The Extra Mile

Matthew 5:38-42

“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
—Matthew 5:42


Sometimes we hear the phrase “Don’t get mad; get even!” Most of us want to fight back when someone hurts us. We want to prove we are right and the other person is wrong. The fabric of self-preservation is woven deeply within us.

Jesus would have us behave differently. In today’s verses, he refers to an Old Testament law that required justice for a person who was wronged and also set limits on the punishment of an offender. The truth is that relationships don’t function very well when all we focus on is getting our due.

Under God’s rule, justice is tempered with great mercy. We must be willing to show kindness to people who take advantage of us. We must be prepared to give our time and resources to those who don’t deserve them. We ought to serve where and when we may not want to. Many of us will find Jesus’ calling extremely challenging.

But Jesus empowers us to give and show mercy even in the most difficult situations. When he was beaten, he not only turned the other cheek; he offered his whole body to death. Jesus crossed an infinite distance to enter a fallen world, seeking lost sinners like you and me. God’s justice is tempered with great mercy. May his grace empower us to go the extra mile.

Gracious God, you have given us far more than we deserve. You love us at a far greater price than we can imagine. Help us to reflect your beautiful generosity to all whom we encounter. Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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