14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18
Not only does this verse call us to not repay evil with evil, but it commands us to seek to do good. I have matured enough in most situations that I can walk away and not engage with a person who is hurting me or angering me, but this verse calls me to take it one step further - I am called to do good for those who wrong me.
Seeking good for those who wrong me isn’t something I can do in my own power, though there are things I can do to strengthen my desire to help those who hurt me. When I strengthen the Spirit that lives within me, I increase my desire to live according to His will. I can start by daily meditating on what Jesus has done for me - without His great sacrifice and mercy and grace, I would be spending an eternity in hell separated from Him. When I chose evil, He chose good. Focusing on what He has done for me minimizes the difficulties I experience as a result of other people. Whatever I am going through pales by comparison to what the King of the Universe experiences when He walked this earth.
I can also pray for and grant forgiveness to the person who wronged me. God call us to forgive as we have been forgiven. He came down to this earth to bear the sins that I have committed, all so that I could spend eternity with Him in heaven. Who am I to be so self-righteous that I choose not to grant forgiveness? He forgives me, so I must forgive others. But He doesn’t only forgive me - He seeks my good, so I must seek the good of others.
Finally, I can get out of the emotion of the moment with the person who is wronging me. Emotions can be crazy things when allowed to respond without any self-control. Emotions focus on me and only me in a moment of conflict. It is in these moments I need to capture my thinking and make it obedient to Christ. Recognize that we have an emotional side of our brain and a rational side. When our emotional center is triggered, it’s difficult to think clearly in the rational mind. Removing yourself from an emotionally charged situation can help move you into your rational brain, so can meditating on His Word, listening to worship music, or talking to a Godly friend.
How can we repay evil with good? By allowing the person who wronged us witness Jesus Christ move through us and guide our response to the person who has hurt us. When that is a priority, the Spirit will respond for you.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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