Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. —Matthew 5:38-42
So often the way we react towards others barely grazes the surface of mediocrity. What do I mean by this?
Let me illustrate it this way. As a child, sometimes when my parents would tell me to clean my room, I would try my “hardest” to do the least amount of work while trying still to somehow pass my mother’s inspection. It never worked out as planned.
Even in my teen years I was fine with barely “getting by.” This “just enough” attitude seemed to spill over into how I applied myself with school studies as well. It was once said that “the person who aims at nothing, will hit it every time.”
Sadly, such carelessness can easily make its way into how we live and treat others. As a Christian, I am not called to simply “coast on my feelings” but I am to conquer through faith in Christ. In the verses above, Jesus was revealing the way true Christianity responds towards suffering, mistreatment, and inconveniences.
It is not the norm and yet it is necessary if a Christian is to make a profound impact in the heart of someone for the gospel’s sake. I’ve often heard people say don’t just “talk the talk, but walk the walk.” The question is how far are we to walk until it becomes not just a subtle difference, but a powerful witness?
God may tell me to give a couple of my suits to a particular person in need of nicer clothing. Just “getting by” is when I grudgingly obey and simply give some ugly suits I only wear on dire occasions. Sure, I can do this and somehow trick myself into thinking that I am an “extraordinary” Christian, but in reality I would be a common Pharisee.
How about you? Are you willing, if need be, to sacrifice a little more so that God’s love will penetrate deep into someone’s life? Are you willing to face ill-treatment with a smile and a heart of forgiveness so that the grace and glory of God will shine even more?
I end with this simple, yet imperative statement: Don’t just make every opportunity “count,” but make every opportunity Christ-like.