Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity – Friday
But I say unto you: That ye resist not the 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 cloak 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 5:39-42
These words of the Savior are often ridiculed and badly misunderstood. Let us apply them to the life of the Christians, God’s children, which they lead among one another.
Perhaps your fellow Christian, possibly by some fault of yours, is overcome with anger, and strikes you on your right cheek. What then is your Christian duty? Should you take revenge? By no means! Meekly, as a Christian, according to your “new man” (Ephesians 4:24), turn to him the other cheek also. Surely, he, as a Christian, according to his “new man,” will, hopefully, see his sin of sinful anger, express to you his regret, and thereby give you the privilege of “forgiving [him], even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Or your fellow Christian, in a heated discussion, positively thinks that he has a right to your coat, and would even go to the law (to court) with you about it. Why, Christian, let him have not only your coat, but also some other part of your clothing! “In so doing [you will] heap coals of fire on his head” (Romans 12:20b). You may surprise him by your action and, hopefully, cause him to see his sin of covetousness, express to you his shame, and thereby (once again) give you the privilege of “forgiving [him] even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Or, perhaps, your fellow Christian, with arrogance, demands that you walk a mile with him. Say to him: “Sure, I’ll even walk two miles with you!” That, hopefully, will lead him to see his haughtiness, confess the wrong of his behavior, and provide you with the blessed opportunity to forgive him, “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Or your fellow Christian may be in financial trouble and asks you if he could borrow some money from you. Should you say: “My money is mine, and I owe you nothing?” No, do not reject his request if you are able to help him. Give to him what he needs at the time, ever remembering how your God has not only given you His “silver” and His “gold” (Haggai 2:8), but has also, − for the sake of Jesus’ perfect obedience of His holy Law in your behalf and in behalf of the whole world (Galatians 4:4-5; Romans 5:18-19) and for the sake of Jesus’ sinless sacrifice for your sins and the sins of all people (II Corinthians 5:15a), − given you and shared with you the great treasures of forgiveness for all of your sins and righteousness before Him, these treasures now your very own through faith in Christ Jesus.
With those treasures, you are now, by God’s grace in Christ, equipped to follow ever more closely your Savior’s encouraging words: “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
PRAYER – Lord Jesus, help me to grow more and more in not only remembering, but also help me to grow more and more in applying the priceless words of the Apostle John: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (I John 4:11). Give ear to my requests for Thy precious name’s sake. Amen.