What are you doing out of the ordinary? 

This is what Jesus asked the crowds during his Sermon on the Mount.  It is my favorite part of Jesus’ sermon so far, as I continue on my journey of reading through Jesus’ words in the New Testament.  It’s relatable, even for today.

Go the extra mile.

We’ve all heard this phrase before, but did you know it actually originated with Jesus?  If we apply the principles Jesus mentions in this one passage, I believe it would take care of most of our problems.

  Matthew 5:33-48 ~ Tell the truth. Go the second mile. Love your enemies. ~

“Again, you have heard it was said to our ancestors, You must not break your oath, but you must keep your oaths to the Lord. But I tell you, don’t take an oat at all: either by heaven, because it is God’s throne; or by the earth, because it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Neither should you swear by your head,  because you cannot make a single hair white or black. But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.”

“You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt, let him have your coat as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to the one who asks you, and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

This part of the sermon is one of the strongest arguments for Jesus. No person could have written something like this. It is not in our nature to think like this by ourselves. There would have been no earthly reason or gain to have said these things. Jesus could have easily come as a military hero or king on earth, but he did not.  If Jesus is who he said he was, then His words matter.

Jesus does not give us a list of do’s and don’ts.  He is more interested in how we treat others, especially those who do not deserve our kindness.  He shows us a picture of what His grace looks like, which is to love regardless.  This is how God’s love is; it is not our secular or popular view of love.

It means loving people through their make mistakes. Forgiving them. Being there so you can catch them when they fall.  “An apology may be in the making”, is what I once heard someone say.  It is for all those times when someone may want to apologize but they just can’t do it for whatever reason. You make the first move and give them that chance to apologize, to make things better. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but you will not have any regrets living by this principle that Jesus teaches. You never know who is watching and learning. God notices, and He will reward you for it in heaven.

“To the love-starved, a word of affection can be a feast.” – Max Lucado

People need your love more than you can imagine.

Love based on who God is, not who you are.

76% of Americans say they have no one to turn to.

Don’t stand in someone’s way of seeing Jesus.

“You are changing the world when you are changing one person’s world.”
– Ann Voscamp, A Thousand Gifts

feet with waves cropped

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About the Author

Sue McCusker is a writer, Bible teacher, and web developer who loves to share the stories of life, hope, and faith she sees around her every day. She has written for Guideposts and  Angels on Earth magazines, and teaches the story of God in women's Bible study.

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