[Jesus continued:] "If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too."
— Matthew 5:40 NLT
We have basic rights — at least that's the assumption many of us operate under as human beings. We get very angry when those basic rights are compromised. Jesus, however, is more concerned that we are redemptive than insisting that our rights are honored in every situation here on earth. His goal is to redeem others through us, not for us to get even with them or even necessarily get what we deserve. Jesus' orientation toward personal rights should not surprise us. He gave up all of his rights and left heaven to redeem us!* (Philippians 2:5-11) On the other hand, Jesus staunchly defended the rights of others when those in charge tried to take those rights away from them.** Why? Jesus' primary concern was to redeem and bless all people (Matthew 23:23). He now wants us to do the same. The goal of our behavior is to be redemptive to others whether it is our rights or theirs that have been violated!
Almighty and compassionate Father, give me less passion for my own rights and greater passion to defend the rights of others who are being abused and exploited. Give me a sensitive heart to see beyond the things done to me that are wrong so that I may see the wrong in the hearts of others and influence them to come closer to you. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.