Do You Go ‘the Extra Mile’?
WHEN the neighbor’s dog drank his baby’s milk, a man in Nicaragua demanded compensation. But his neighbor became enraged and a knife fight resulted. The two men cut each other severely—all just because of the loss of a little milk.
This is typical of what can happen when people blow a small thing completely out of proportion. Often this leads to far greater loss to those concerned than if the original demand had been granted, or withdrawn peacefully.
Yes, many very serious problems would never develop if people were more willing to follow the principle of going ‘the extra mile.’ This is what the Bible encourages: “Do not resist him that is wicked; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other also to him. And if a person wants to go to court with you and get possession of your inner garment, let your outer garment also go to him; and if someone under authority impresses you into service for a mile, go with him two miles.” (Matt. 5:39-41) Consider how this counsel given by Jesus Christ could prevent difficulties over comparatively minor things.
A slap on the face is insulting and designed to provoke the one slapped. But would it really be to your advantage to retaliate? Rather, would not retaliation mean playing right into the hands of the one who wanted to start a fight? The wise course, then, is to ‘turn the other cheek,’ to disregard the insult. Generally this would end the whole thing.
You may know people who are bent on getting every personal advantage regardless of the expenditure of time and money. They make issues over trifles and insist that they must be vindicated. Would it be wise to get involved with them in lengthy and costly legal battles? Often it is better to take a loss and thus avoid getting embroiled in a maze of legal problems.
As far as an official or a supervisor is concerned, he may have the authority to request the performance of a particular service. Instead of protesting, the individual asked to do something usually is farther ahead by being willing to do what is required of him and even to do more than that. He thus avoids needlessly incurring the displeasure of those in authority.
Now, in the case of the two men in Nicaragua, likely neither one of them would have been scarred for life had there been a willingness to make compensation or to take a small loss. This is well illustrated in what happened to two women attending a Christian assembly in the same country. One of them accidentally knocked over a bottle of milk that the other woman had bought to feed to her baby. She quickly cleaned everything up and, when the other woman returned to her seat, offered to pay for the spilled milk. But the owner had no interest in compensation, and the two women soon were engaged in pleasant conversation.
Truly, the person who gains is the one who avoids making issues over trifles and really goes beyond what is asked of him to settle matters peaceably. There is real wisdom in being willing to walk that ‘extra mile.’