If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the person who did it.’ But I say, don’t resist an evil person! If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too. If you are ordered to court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.

I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, but in Roman society a soldier could order a non-Roman to carry his gear for a distance of one mile and the person had to do it. He didn’t have to go one step further, but he would have to carry the gear for one full mile. So what Jesus is saying is go that one mile without complaining and then go ahead and carry their stuff beyond the requirement of the law. In fact, this is where the phrase “going the extra mile” comes from.

Let’s go a little further in Jesus words in Matthew 5…

Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT)
“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbour’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

If your relationship with God really makes a difference in your life, it’s going to be evident in the way you treat the people who treat you poorly. It’s easy to be nice to the people who treat you well. And it’s easy to brag up your friends. But if you’re able to show love and compassion and forgiveness and generosity for the person you may even consider an enemy, and you can honestly and truly wish them well, it’s a pretty God sign that God’s been working in your life.

How you respond speaks to your character, not theirs.



Just quickly as we finish up, let me outline for you four benefits of a positive response to the people who mistreat you:



Four Benefits of a Positive Response:



A. It’s good for your physical and spiritual health

We read earlier that God’s forgiveness for you is dependent on your willingness to forgive others. An unforgiving spirit is going to hold His forgiveness back, it’s going to limit your own spiritual growth, and it will hold you in bondage. On the other hand, if you forgive others you’ll be in a position to receive God’s forgiveness, it will spur on your spiritual growth and development, and you won’t be bound by that moment in the past when someone did you wrong… you’ll be able to move beyond it. That’s how it’s good for you spiritually.

But I mentioned that it’s also good for you physically. How?

PARTICIPATION

(ulcers, stress, tension, restlessness, insomnia, bitterness, peace of mind…)



B. It stops