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How to deal with difficult people

23 April 2024 ‘If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.’ Matthew 5:41 NIV

Jesus said, ‘If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.’ Roman soldiers were permitted to force a Jew to carry a burden a mile for them. They treated Jews as tools to be used. So, what do you do in that kind of situation? Jesus invites us to take the high road. A Roman soldier like these could probably be a young boy, a stranger there, probably poor himself. All he receives is local resentment. So, you finish the mile and say, ‘You look tired. Can I help you some more? Can I carry it for you another mile?’ That would blow the soldier’s mind. Nobody asked that! That’s what you’re called to do! When someone takes advantage of you, you want to think of them as unlikable rather than a real person with their own story. It’s said that a friend offered to introduce English essayist Charles Lamb to a man whom Lamb had disliked for a long time. ‘Don’t make me meet him,’ Lamb said. ‘“I want to go on hating him, and I can’t do that to a man I know.’ Understand this: you can give the gift of empathy. You can remember that the person you don’t like is also a human being. You can put yourself in his their place. You can take the time to imagine how they feel, what they have been through, and how life has treated them. When you do that, your problem becomes an opportunity to practise the Christ life. Isn’t that what you want? Isn’t that what you signed up for in the first place?

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