Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 9 : Go the Second Mile | Day 57

Give More Than Is Required!

One of the most serious causes of failure in the areas of relationships, finances, and health is having a resistant attitude toward those whom we have offended or to whom we are obligated. If an individual is found to be guilty of an offense or has failed to fulfill an obligation, and he is subsequently required to make restitution, his resistant spirit will be revealed when he chooses to do only what the law demands. After all, he thinks he has God's Law on his side, because the Law stipulates "an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth"—certainly no further compensation is due! (See Exodus 21:24.) Jesus challenged this limitation with four mandates.

Command Nine: Turn the other cheek. Give your coat and your cloak also. Go the second mile. Give to those who ask you. (See Matthew 5:38-42.)

All of these "second-mile" responses relate to offenses or obligations that were understood by the Jewish people. If a man insulted another person with indecent words or actions, he could expect to be slapped in the face. That might satisfy the outraged person, but it would not accomplish God's higher purposes until the offender's other cheek was offered.

If a judge ruled that a man caused financial damage to another, Jesus said he was not only to repay whatever he owed, including his coat, but should also give his cloak, which often served as his blanket and was "protected" by the Mosaic Law. (See Exodus 22:26-27.)

Because God's people had disobeyed His commandments, God placed them under the harsh rule of the Romans. One law was particularly repugnant to the Jews. It required a Jewish man, upon demand, to carry the heavy military pack of a Roman soldier for a mile. Jesus said they should carry the pack a second mile.

All Jewish men were in covenant with each other. This required them to give to anyone who lacked basic necessities of life. For a needy person to have to ask meant that the wealthy man was not alert to the conditions of his fellow covenant members.

Going the first "mile" satisfies the requirements of man's law but fails to fulfill the higher law of God's love.

As I wrote this e-mail, God gave me a clear application for this command. A specific individual has been asking me to give him a certain amount of money, yet I have resisted for two reasons. First, he had previously affirmed that there was no debt. Secondly, I was aware of strong reaction that would come from another individual if I gave the money.

As I was pondering this, the phone rang. It was the individual whom I knew would react. We discussed the matter, and we agreed that it would be God's will to give the money. I have a sense of excitement, because on the one hand it will mean significant personal sacrifice, and on the other hand, it will provide an opportunity for God to show His power.

May God give each of us the courage to obey His higher law of love by giving more than is required.

“... Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. ... If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. ... Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” (Matthew 5:39-41).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard