As I pushed my shopping cart around him, I wanted to stop and ask him, “Does it really matter?” “Is winning an argument more important than nourishing and retaining a relationship with a relative or a friend or any other person?” Today, I don’t think winning is terribly important, but in my childhood, I’m not sure I would have agreed.
At that time, my mother didn't drive, my dad was on an overseas assignment, and we walked everywhere we went unless we rode in my uncle’s car to the Piggly Wiggly in Shelby on Saturday mornings and to Sunday school and church on Sundays. We usually walked on hot dusty paths through fields to my uncle’s house and on hot dusty roads to a little country store—“a right fer piece away”-- so walking another mile, if I didn't absolutely have to, didn't sound appealing to me at all; as a matter of fact, it sounded like punishment—not what I wanted to do for anyone else.
Going the extra mile means letting someone else win an argument or a game if it is so important to him.
Going the extra mile means showing God’s grace to others in the spirit of God’s love. Just as God gives His good grace to an undeserving sinner such as I am; so I am also called to sacrifice my pride, my selfishness, and other examples of my sinfulness and to give grace to people who, in my limited, narrow-minded, earthly vision, don’t always deserve it.
To do this I must put aside all pomposity and let my life be about loving and serving others, not about crowing over my own hard-headedness and winning arguments. I pray that my young grocery-store friend will also find peace in treating others justly and mercifully, not angrily and self-righteously.