Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men]. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men]. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)
For the next 6 devotions, we will be looking at this word of encouragement from Paul to the members of the church at Thessalonica. Our devotions will center on the six exhortations given to us by Paul…
1. warn them that are unruly,
2. comfort the feebleminded,
3. support the weak,
4. be patient toward all [men].
5. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man];
6. ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
In this morning’s devotional we will be looking at the fifth of Paul’s exhortations to us…
See that none render evil for evil unto any [man];
How easy it is for us to justify “getting back” for wrongdoing that is done to us. However, we are clearly told in God’s Word that “payback” is to be avoided by anyone who takes the name of Christ.
The Lord states the issue very plainly, in this text, by saying “see that none of you hand back injury, harm or abuse to those who injure, harm, or abuse you.
In the writings of the NT this issue is addressed several times and helps to explain specifics concerning this responsibility we have been given:
1. The Lord will repay any wrong doing that is done to His people
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21)
2. Better to accept the abuse at the hands of brethren than to expose them to public shame
“But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather [suffer yourselves to] be defrauded?Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that [your] brethren.” (1 Corinthians 6:6-8)
3. Keep in mind our eternal blessings gained through obedience to the Lord. Any abuse on this earth only results in temporary loss.
“Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous:Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)
Christ, Himself, taught these truths and set the perfect example for us to follow:
4. Christ teaches us to sacrificially go above and beyond to those who are enemies. We do this by loving, blessing, doing good, and praying for those who oppose us.
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloke also.And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:39-45)
5. Christ set the example by refusing to give us our due, but to give His life on the cross for us instead.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:21-25)
May we all choose to give of ourselves towards those who mistreat us. In doing so, we are presenting Christ to those around us.
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