A dear friend's mother shared this short devotional with me the other day. She shared a lesson the Lord had taught her long ago in hopes that I would gain wisdom from it. It's been reverberating through my heart and mind ever since. I'd like to share it with you.
This excerpt is from "My Utmost for His Highest (An updated edition in Today's Language)" by Oswald Chambers
Suffering Afflictions and Going the Second Mile
"I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also" (Matthew 5:39)
This verse reveals the humiliation of being a Christian. In the natural realm, if a person does not hit back, it is because he is a coward. But in the spiritual realm, it is the very evidence of the Son of God in him if he does not hit back. When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but you must make it an opportunity to exhibit the Son of God in your life. And you cannot imitate the nature of Jesus - it is either in you or it is not. A personal insult becomes an opportunity for a saint to reveal the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus.
The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not, "Do you r duty," but is, in effect, "Do what is not your duty." It is not your duty to go the second mile, or to turn the other cheek, but Jesus said that if we are His disciples, we will always do these things. We will not say, "Oh well, I just can't do any more, and I've been so misrepresented and misunderstood." Every time I insist on having my own rights, I hurt the Son of God, while in fact I can prevent Jesus from being hurt if I will take the blow myself. That is the real meaning of filling "up in my flesh what is lacking int he afflictions of Christ..." (Colossians 1:24). A disciple realizes that it is his Lord's honor that is at stake in his life, not his own honor.
Never look for righteousness in the other person, but never cease to be righteous yourself. We are always looking for justice, yet the essence of the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is - Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this principle. It's very much against our nature to give up our rights...to apology...to vindication...to whatever, but this perspective is very humbling to me. It's going to be working on my heart for a while.