“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 the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (ESV)
Ways to handle conflict:
- The Secular Mentality
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” – the world believes that we have certain human rights. I praise God every day that He doesn’t give me what I deserve but what Christ deserved on the cross, bearing the punishment for my sin.
The problem with the world’s solution of retaliation is that more people get hurt in the process – even hurting them before they can hurt you.
- The Second Mile
The world needs the secret power of the second mile – a positive power to the retaliation problem, which makes it worse. Our choice is always between the escalation and the elimination of the conflict. The more you do it, the better you will become at it.
a. It breaks the cycle of hostility. Prov. 15v1. Forgiveness works at home, in traffic, when you are interrupted, in all our other relations, in the work place, in the school (either become bitter or better).
b. It will touch others with the true Gospel of Christ – The real mark of a Christian is a lapel pin that says ‘Jesus first’, a bumper sticker that says ‘honk if you love Jesus’. The hallmark of a Christian is not how you dot theological i’s and cross theological t’s – it is unselfish love.
Jesus chose to lay down His rights, emptying Himself (Phil. 2:8), saying to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane, knowing what was about to come: “Your will be done!”
It is the kind of love that lays down rights for the sake of others.
c. It will fire up our walk with God – make us free from bitterness. Christian love is generous and often unexpected. How do you keep going? By charging your spiritual batteries.
Notice what the Bible says about this: Col. 3:14; Rom. 13:8; 12:10; 1 John 4:7, 19; John 13:34; 1 Cor. 16:14; 1 Pet. 4:8; 1 Cor. 13; Prov. 4:23-27).