Today’s Scripture: Matthew 5:38-42; Romans 13:1-2
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus cautioned the disciples about taking revenge on others—particularly authority. They were living under the oppressive rule of the Roman government, and the Jews were often treated unfairly.
For example, if a Roman soldier told a Jewish person he needed him and his donkey to transport a load for him to a certain location, the Jew was obligated to go one mile—even if it was out of his way. This had to be a constant irritant to the Jews, especially if they were traveling in the opposite direction from what the Roman wanted him to go. And, I suppose there may have been a few times when the Romans may have enjoyed making sport of the Jews who had no choice but to obey.
Jesus no doubt recognized how the Israelites chafed under this unfair treatment. But, instead of encouraging them to rebel or fight back, He instructed them to not resist an evil person, but if someone hit them on one cheek, they should turn the other cheek. Then He said, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” The Roman law made one mile obligatory. The second mile was voluntary. This had to be a huge pill for the Jews to swallow.
Sometimes people in authority will push our anger button. But, even if we disagree with them, scripture says we are obligated to submit to them. This may be easier to do when we recognize that authority has been established by God. If we submit to authority, we are ultimately submitting to the Lord. That takes away the sting, doesn’t it?
- How do you respond to authority when they push your “anger button”? What can you do to control your emotions and learn to submit instead?
- If you are person of authority, how can you be more sensitive to those under your oversight?