How strongly should I cling to what is “mine”?

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.  (Matthew 5:38-42)

“What? How dare they bill me! This test was supposed to be 100% paid by my medical plan!” Even though the bill was for only $45, I was furious. I spent hours trying to get that bill to disappear.  I wanted to cling to every penny that was mine.

Compare my reaction to what Jesus says in today’s scripture. Is Jesus telling us to be a doormat? Not necessarily. Indeed, in Acts 22, even Paul stood up for his rights as a Roman citizen.

But my question for today is, how aggressive should I be in standing up for my own interests? When does a legitimate reason to do so morph into an obsession with “mine! mine! mine!”

First, consider Philippians 2:4. I am asked to “Look not just to my own interest, but also to the interests of others.” This scripture is not saying that looking to my own interest is wrong in and of itself, but that it’s wrong when it consumes me so much that I stop looking to the interests of others.

Just think, what other, more worthwhile “noble, right, and admirable” (Phil. 4:8) things I could have done instead of stewing and fretting over the incorrectness of that $45 bill. Next time, by the grace of the Lord, I will think twice before getting so bent out of shape. By walking in the Spirit, I can learn to hold what is mine loosely in my hand, and be ready to let go if the Lord says to.

Not only does that attitude please God, it’s a less stressed out way to live.


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