“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”1 Thessalonians 5:15/NIV
Considering the focal verse, the Apostle Paul provides guidance that we should not seek to get even with people who harm us. Rather than returning evil-for-evil, we should seek to do good for others, including people who have animosity towards us. Paul embraced valuable guidance from Jesus Christ, who did say we should “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39) and “forgive someone seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). “Turn the other cheek?” “Let bygones be bygones?” Easy to say but hard to do if there is longstanding turmoil, animosity, and frustration regarding the angry person in our life.
During the ministry of the Apostle Paul, he suffered harsh punishment on many occasions for his spiritual beliefs. Despite these hardships, his writings do not appear to reflect animosity towards those who sought to harm him. He sought to do what was good for others during his ministry campaigns and healed, taught, mentored, encouraged, and guided people towards Jesus. Though Paul walked the earth thousands of years ago, he voiced thankfulness and was certainly an encouragement for others and did not appear to harbor ill-will towards those who hated him!
Upon review of Paul’s writings, he continuously gave thanks to God no matter what arduous circumstances he endured! When Paul wrote to the church of Thessalonica, he provided them with much mentorship, guidance, and also encouragement! What a great role model for us – we too should be thankful and encourage others! 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 provides essential insights: “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other” (NIV).
Paul also provides additional insightful wisdom: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17/NIV). He also tells us to “hold on to what is good, and reject every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). Much “thanks” to the Apostle Paul for the “encouragement” provided! Likewise, much “thanks” to Jesus Christ from Whom I am “encouraged” to face another day! Amen!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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