Taking Back the Initiative - Going the Extra Mile

With reference Mat 5:38-48, especially v39, "...But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also", many people are confused about what it means. Some people even misunderstand it to mean Christians are to give in to bullies.

In the passage, we have the contrasting teachings of the world and the kingdom of God.
The worldly teaching is
  1. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. vs38
  2. You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. vs43
In contrast, the Kingdom of God's teaching is:
  1. Do not resist the one who is evil - give more than than he needs. v39-42
  2. Love your enemies & pray for those who persecute you.
In v39, we must first differentiate the 'one', the person, from his 'evil' deed. The evil deed is defined in the context of slapping (one has not such right to hit another), suing to take tunic ( he is using legal means to get something that is probably not his), going the extra mile ( the special privilege of the Roman soldier) and so forth. The evil is making unreasonable demand on someone.

Surprise him - Do more than is Needed!
The worldly wisdom is for us to fight for our own right and to strike back or counter sue. Here, Kingdom's teaching wants us to look the need of the person who resorted to such evil act. He must be in dire needs to do such thing. Our reaction is not to fight back, but to find out the person's motivation and needs behind those evil actions. Jesus want us to ignore the bad acts and to empathize with the person and to help him instead. We need to go deeper to fix the problem at the root. Instead of fighting back, we ask "why are you doing it?", "what is your real need". Once we find out, we go out of our way to truly help him out.

Making unexpected reaction will surprise the aggressor (he expected us to fight back) and we take back the initiative so that we can be in position to influence and change the outcome for good.

Let's go One Step Further!
Not resisting evil and going the extra-mile while is good, is still not good enough. It is relatively passive in helping others; we are waiting for them to take action first before we response. So, Jesus go further in v44 that we should take the proactive step of loving enemy; praying for them first.

Before we argue with God that it is impossible for us to that, we need to know that God already know that we could not. That is why God has given us Jesus Christ in us to enable us. Because we are children of God with God's identity, then we could what God want us to do (v45, 48). We are to love with the love of Jesus that is in us. I call this the Rhodium Rule (Rodium is about 4-6 times the price of Platinum). As a side track, the three rules of love are:
  1. The Golden Rule - Do unto others as you would others do unto you (empathy is implied)
  2. The Platinum Rule - Do Unto Others as They Would Have You Do Unto Them (Do they know what is best for themselves?)
  3. The Rhodium Rule - Do unto others as Jesus would have us do unto them (For their Good from God's viewpoint).
Applying Them in Our Lives
We can apply the "Going the Extra Mile Rule" in our lives - in our business, family, and friends tec. In business, it means delighting the customers and differentiating our services from our competitors. Innovation Rules (BVITS's Intensified/Extremity) operator) tells us to look the needs and feedback not just from our normal customers, but the extreme ends of our customers. Those that are extremely happy with us and those that hate us. Digging deeper into their feedbacks can tell us a lot about our product and services and give us leads on to how to improve our products and services.

In business, going the extra mile for staff means
  1. as staff: giving our best in our works from our hearts as if we are working for Jesus Christ (Eph 6:5-8).
  2. as bosses: treating our staff with fairness, recognition, appreciation, trust and delegation of decision making authority, accountability and forgiveness for failures (Eph 6:9).
As a spouse, as parent, as children, etc are all covered well in Eph and Col.

No comments: