Blog: 20 March 2013
I come from
By Dominique Payne, UrbanPromise Alumni
I come from parents who come from islands where the water is as clear as glass and the breeze is as
cool as a summer day.
I come from a place with a bad reputation, where some people would fire a gun and not worry if
the person they hit could possibly be the one to cure cancer, or create world peace. The
person they hit could be a single mother who is struggling to take care of five kids, an
older sister who is a role model to her younger sister who wishes to be just like her when
she grows up, or an older brother who is working and doing something on the side just to
get what he needs.
I come from a family who barely listens and if they do it’s only to hear what they want to hear
and not what you really said.
I come from a family that has poor sight, where four eyes are common than two but even with
four they still can’t see that I am not as happy as my smile appears, my
smile that could shine as bright as the sun, and holds a story that many would want to hear but only one
can tell. My smile that once held nothing but happiness but is now dimmed by the
problems that come in life.
I come from stubborn siblings who believe there is more than one right way to doing things and
if they can’t get their point across nothing will go your way.
I believe all the stories of me never crying when I was little, but instead laughing at nothing and
always carrying a smile as if it was a valuable jewel that was one of a kind and everyone
wanted to have it.
I will not let someone determine my future and tell me where I can and cannot go. My future will
be for me and will be a result of all the choices I made because no one judged me or told
me I couldn’t be who I am.
I wake up sometimes feeling like I’ve slept for days and my body is weak from the abuse of
time. Abuse of trying too hard and caring too much.
“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” Matthew 5:41
My priest friend, Father Michael Doyle, once said, “The greatest compliment Jesus ever gave a human being was to love their enemies.” Why? “Because Jesus believed that human beings were capable of doing something completely counter-intuitive, something so extraordinary that it contradicts their animal instincts.”
Jesus believed that human beings were capable of behaving in remarkable ways. Jesus makes this same kind of appeal in the above verse. The custom in Jesus’ day was for Roman soldiers—part of that imperial system that was deeply resented by the Jewish people—to ask civilians to carry their heavy bags. Civilians were required, by law, to do this for one mile. You can only imagine the animus this practice created in the hearts of the occupied people. At any time and in any place, a soldier could humiliate you by making this request. Rather than resenting the request and receiving the humiliation, Jesus turns the whole process on its head. “Go with them for two miles!”
Can you imagine the Roman soldiers when their subjects did not drop their bags after the first mile? Perplexity? Confusion? Maybe even anger—after all, the dynamics of power have now shifted. Jesus calls you and me toward a “second mile” lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that joyfully and willingly demonstrates love by choosing to do what we are not required to do. (The Promise Effect, p.137)
If someone asks you a favor, or if there’s some regular chore you resent doing, find a way to do more, or to do it better than required. You don’t need to say it’s a “second mile” thing; just do it as a gift of God’s love.
Going the second mile, Lord, is a challenge—especially if my heart is supposed to be in the right place. Thank you for believing that I can get to this place. Thank you for believing that I can become more than I can imagine.