“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 one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” Matthew 5:38-41
In this verse, Jesus is telling us not to seek revenge, but to forgive and even do good to the person who has wronged us. I guess I have always looked at that as my Christian “duty.” Something I was required to do instead of what I really wanted to do. Recently I decided I am thinking about it the wrong way. What if I made it gospel instead of law? (Lutherans love to talk about the difference). This kind of situation gives me a chance to show God’s grace to someone.
My husband loves to tell a story about our good friend, Gary. Gary and his family had moved to a house they were renting. The first evening they were there, the renter of the other half of the house came home and Gary went out to greet him and introduce himself. His neighbor responded with curses and a basic message of “leave me alone.” Gary’s response? “Gee, you must have had a terrible day, what’s wrong?” The two became friends because Gary saw his neighbor’s rudeness as an opportunity to share God’s love. He let him see Christ’s forgiveness and acceptance in the actions of another person.
How often do I let this same opportunity pass?