The message Jesus delivers in this verse reveals the humiliation of being a Christian. When cowards don’t hit back, it’s because of fear; when Christians don’t hit back, it’s because they are manifesting the life of the Son of God. There is a vast difference between the two responses, yet in the eyes of the world they are the same.

Am I willing to be thought a coward for my Lord’s sake? The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount isn’t “Do your duty.” It’s “Do what isn’t your duty.” It isn’t my duty to go the second mile or to turn the other cheek. Yet Jesus says that if I am his disciple, I will always do these things. When I am insulted, not only must I not resent it, but I must use it as an opportunity for exhibiting the disposition of the Son of God. I cannot imitate the disposition of Jesus; either it’s inside me or it isn’t. If it is, every personal insult will become an occasion for revealing his incredible sweetness.

When I find myself being offended and saying things like, “Oh well, I can’t do anything more. I’ve been so misrepresented and misunderstood,” I hurt the Son of God. I’m insisting upon my own rights. But when I take the blow myself, I prevent Jesus from being hurt. This is what Paul means when he says, “I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions” (Colossians 1:24). As a disciple, I must realize that it is my Lord’s honor which is at stake in my life.

We are always looking for justice for ourselves. The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is this: Never look for justice, but never cease to give it. The only right Christians have is the right not to insist upon their rights.

Wisdom from Oswald

It is not what a man does that is of final importance, but what he is in what he does. The atmosphere produced by a man, much more than his activities, has the lasting influence.  Baffled to Fight Better, 51 L