Steve Moore writes about Julio Diaz, a New York city social worker who would take the subway to the Bronx each night to eat dinner at his favorite diner. One evening, a teenager brandished a knife and attempted to rob him. Diaz handed over his wallet, but as the thief walked away he said to him, “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.” This baffled the teen, and from there Diaz was able to talk him into eating dinner with him in the diner. The teen was struck by how so many knew him and greeted him. The bill came at the end of the dinner, and Diaz offered to buy if he could get his wallet back. Without thinking, the teen handed it back to him. Diaz gave him a $20 and asked only for the knife in return (Who Is My Neighbor?, 44-45). We would hope that this prompted the teen to reform his life and make something nobler of himself, but if he does not it will not be Diaz’s fault.
What would you do if you were in a predicament like that? Maybe you would fight back, and who knows how that would end. Maybe you would compliantly give the wallet and watch in silence as the thief left. Yet, notice how profoundly Julio Diaz impacted this young man by doing more than was expected. His victim was willing to give even more than was asked of him. The world cannot produce that kind of wisdom and street smarts.
Diaz took a page right out of the Divine playbook. Jesus taught, “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you” (Mat. 5:38-42). What incredible wisdom! Such action melts hearts and gives people a glimpse of Divine thinking.
It’s not likely you’ll be robbed at gun or knife point today. However, somebody will mistreat you, speak evil about you, or otherwise hurt you–soon! What will you do in response? Why not pull a Diaz? Why not follow the guidance of the greatest sermon ever preached?