Last week I shared an encouragement to give others the benefit of doubt not foolishly but deliberately and generously especially during this time of much discord, disunity, and division.
Obviously, it is easy to do this to those who extend the same to us and who show us kindness, but Jesus tells us to go beyond that by loving and being kind to our enemies and to those who are unkind to us. I find these instructions among the most difficult that Jesus gives us to follow. In Matthew 5 Jesus replaces the “eye for eye and tooth for tooth” with being willing “to turn the other cheek” and going beyond what is required of us- even for someone who is undeserving of that.
Verse 41 says, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” This is a reference to a law that Roman senate passed that in any conquered province within the Roman Empire, soldiers could compel a man to carry their equipment/supplies one mile but no more. Jesus tells us to go the second mile and I believe that still today he wants us to willingly go the extra mile. The first mile is to love our neighbours while the second is to love our enemies. The first mile is to bless those who bless us, the second is to bless those who curse us. The first mile is to pray for those who pray for us, the second is to pray for those who wish us ill. The Pharisees lived in the first mile while Jesus lived in the second mile and he invites us to be there with him. Will we join him?