PUCKETT: Have you gone the second mile yet?
It is easy for the teaching and the examples of Christ to get lost in the midst of the endless conflict that surrounds us. Certainly, the world today is a complicated maze of corruption, power abuse and oppression. Our human nature tells us to rise up, resist and speak out lest we are trampled in the dust. How is that working these days?
Jesus Christ is God. He entered the world as a human being. He was the God-man. He had all power and authority, and could have done whatever He wanted to change His surroundings, but He didn’t. He chose surrender and submission. Not only did He completely submit to His heavenly Father, but He also chose submission to government. He spoke against the twisted religion dogma of the day, but He never spoke against government. Matter of fact, when He stood before Pilate, there was nothing that could be charged against Him. He was blameless.
In the midst of the “Sermon on the Mount,” which is contained in the gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7, Jesus lays it out plain. In Matthew 5:39, He begins, “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also.” Verses 40 and 41 continue, “If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” You would say, “These are difficult things to do. What about my rights?”
The crux of the matter is this: either God is God or He is not. If I believe He is God Almighty, I can certainly trust my life into His hands. Jesus fully surrendered to His Heavenly Father. We know that led Him to the cross, and death by crucifixion, but that is not the end of the story. God raised Him from the dead. Trusting God may mean we trust Him all the way to death. There are millions of Christ-followers around the world who are being martyred on a daily basis. Are we better than they?
We may not face a firing squad, but we all face circumstances every day where we will choose to “claim our rights” or submit to God and trust Him. The “second mile” principle simply means to do more than is required; it’s to willingly give more than is asked. It is like one pastor said to his persecutors, “Your weapon is killing; my weapon is dying.”
Should we lay aside our convictions and just go along? No, Jesus never compromised a belief, but He was the servant of all. God is in charge! God is at work! The unconsidered ways of man never further the work of God.
Have you gone the second mile yet?
Dan Puckett works with road team operations at Life Action Ministries in Buchanan, Michigan.