Matthew 5:38 – 41 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.
Well, golly. Why did Jesus have to go and say all of this? When someone is mean or unkind or hateful or spiteful, when someone takes advantage of me, I don’t want to be nice. I don’t want to just stand there and let them keep being mean. What does He want us to be – a bunch of wimpy doormats?
But actually, I already know the answer to that question. In order to turn the other cheek, and go the extra mile for someone who is already taking advantage of me, and give more than a greedy person has demanded, I must be strong. There is nothing weak or wimpy about the kind of character Jesus wants me to display in my life.
When someone treats us poorly, our first reaction is often the wrong one. But two wrongs never add up to a right, and two mean, spiteful actions never add up to a peaceful resolution. Jesus wants us to be strong enough to take whatever abuse others may pass out. He wants us to be strong enough to say, “It stops here.”
There is nothing natural or human about this kind of strength. Rather, this kind of go-the-extra-mile-even-when-it-hurts character comes from God alone. When we rely on our own character and our own willpower to steer our actions, we will rarely make the right choices. But when we call on God, when we seek His wisdom and His guidance, He will give us the strength to react to every situation in a way that will bring peace, instead of more conflict.
Jesus never promised us an easy life. Rather, He promised to lead us in the pathway to righteousness, the pathway to lasting peace and joy. When we do it our way, the results are often destructive – both to us and to others. But when we allow God’s strength and wisdom to guide us, we will find peace. Rock-solid peace.
And there is nothing wimpy about that.
Dear Father, Please help me to react to conflict with Your strength, and not my own emotions.