St. Paul rebukes the Corinthians today, saying, “[It is] a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another.” Then he says something that rubs us the wrong way: Paul asks, “Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?” We resist, saying, “It’s just common sense that we shouldn’t let ourselves be cheated.” But sometimes common sense falls short. That’s why we need the teachings Jesus Christ revealed. Jesus said:
“When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”
Now this does not mean that we should be indifferent to injustices done to others, nor that we should seek out opportunities to be wronged by others ourselves. But when we are personally wronged, Paul suggests that we try imitating Jesus. St. Peter would agree, for he wrote:
“If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
The next time you find yourself wronged, try imitating Christ. Jesus trusted that the Father would provide for Him, and He was provided for. Jesus accepted His unjust suffering, and it changed the world. Jesus invites you to accept a cross and to follow Him into this mystery.