Although we were some distance away, we could hear the shrill admonitions. The woman had brought her own children and a few from the neighborhood to swim in the small lake. Sand had been hauled in to make a nice beach that stretched for perhaps an eighth of a mile. I had brought two of my grandsons to swim. There was a constant verbal barrage of “Don’t you do that! Stop it!” and “One more time and I will take you all home!” The kids evidently did it one more time, whatever it was, because the harassed lady shrilled, “That’s it! All of you get in the van! I’m taking you home!” I can’t say I was sorry. After all, she was unhappy, the kids were unhappy, and the constant yelling was making me unhappy. As they were leaving, she said, “Pick up that trash!” As they were complying she said, “You leave that can there! That’s not ours.”
After enjoying the quiet and the swimming, the boys and I left. As we approached the exit, I picked up a discarded can and told the boys, “Let’s pick up the trash.” One of them said, “Why? Its not ours either.” I said, “Yes, but wouldn’t it make it more pleasant for others who may come.” They agreed, and there wasn’t much so it didn’t take long. They seemed to get some satisfaction out of doing what they felt was a good deed. I got some satisfaction out of feeling that I had done a tiny bit of nurturing in the admonition of the Lord.
A lesson taught in the Sermon on the Mount is that Christians are to go the second mile. “And whosoever shall compel thee to go with him one mile, go with him two.” (Matthew 5:41) The context of this statement by our Lord gives other examples such as loving not only those that love you but also your enemies.
What would that person do to me, if the positions were reversed? It is not a good way to tell what is right, because the other person may not be guided by what is right and what is taught by Christ. God’s treatment of us and His bestowing of blessings upon us go beyond what He would have to do or what our treatment of Him would merit. In fact we would be in a terrible condition if that were the rule He applied.
Christ concluded this portion of His Sermon with, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This is a hard saying, but wouldn’t things be a lot nicer if we all followed it?