Yesterday we talked about how Jesus teaches us to respond to injustice, specifically when someone steals from us and/or humiliates us. Today, I want to look at the third illustration the Lord gives us in the Sermon on the Mount about acting lovingly towards our enemies and those who purposefully attempt to do us harm: give them more than they ask for.
In Jesus’ day, Roman soldiers would often walk down the road with a heavy pack on their back that held their armor and other items. Sometimes they would see a random person and say, “Hey you, take this!” and then force them to carry the weight of the load, even though it wasn’t theirs to bear. Obviously, this was an injustice and anyone put in that position would naturally feel violated, but Jesus used the illustration to teach us about how to transform oppression into an opportunity to love. Rather than viewing mistreatment as a chance to get even, our Savior challenged us to turn it into hospitality, something that was extremely uncommon in the Roman world. Instead of “powering up” in response to someone or something by overreacting, the Lord gave us a more excellent way: over-serve instead!
Friend, there is no more revolutionary thing you can do than to not fight back when you are mistreated. By no means does this require that you endure abuse, but when Jesus lives in your heart, you have the power to respond to mistreatment by going the extra mile. When you show love to those who least deserve it, you heap burning coals on their head (Romans 12:20) and prove to them that your God is greater than their perceived power! Isn’t that wonderful news?