Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Second Mile

 ‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
 ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.   Matthew 5:38-48

When the road is easy, it can be simple to go the extra mile. When the road is rocky and winding, and the next rise is well hidden, then it can be a different story. There are people in my life that make going the extra mile with them almost painful. There are people who tax one's patience and kindness. I wish I was more of a patient person, but I have to admit I am not. And being instructed by God to go the second mile, especially with those who try my patience on the first mile, seems almost impossible tp bear. And that is where we are called, to the empty, uncrowded road, where the easy has been left behind.

Jesus, in his instruction to the disciples (and therefore to us) tells them to go the extra mile, to love their enemies, to live out loud the love God has given us. He calls them to reach deep and find the strength to do what love calls us to do - to love the unlovable, to be patient with the trying, to share what we prize and to let go of control so that love can set the way forward.

Today I ask God to help me live the extra mile, the extra measure, the visible expression of God's love in my life. May we all have patience with the intolerable today, knowing God is even in the midst of our efforts and our frustrations.

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