Make sure no one repays a wrong with a wrong, but always pursue the good for each other and everyone else. Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 CEB)
A mother was busy navigating the complexities of a new school environment when all she had taught her children was tested. At the end of the school day, the oldest child began to explain the most recent incident of bullying, hurt feelings, and distress. The mother had taught the children to use their words, seek adult support, and defend themselves, but these lessons were lost in the heat of this moment as she declared, “Why didn’t you simply put her in her place? You are twice her size and height.”
These words were a direct command to end this once and for all. The youngest child replied, “Something hard must be going on in her life. Maybe we should pray for her.” The words coming from the first-grader stung, and the mother immediately regretted what she had said.
The decision not to repay a wrong with a wrong is a way of living that results from our desire to express gratitude rather than fear. It is a lifestyle that includes an attitude of kindness and generosity even in the face of unfairness. It requires us to continually cultivate holy habits that foster a better world for us all.
It is impossible to live the Christian life without aligning our words and actions. Nothing will be solved repaying wrong actions with wrong actions. When we see and experience wrongs, we must choose a different path—one that is grounded in gratitude and reflects our Christian beliefs.
Imagine what type of community would exist if we truly cared about each other. How different would our world be if we reflected on the intentionality of scripture to remind us to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all situations? In a complex world where bullying, meanness, selfishness, and greed exist, we must choose to respond from a place of gratitude and actively pursue good for everyone. The pursuit of good is a high calling that requires us to behave in a Christlike manner that is often counter to the world’s view.
~Aimee A. Cole-Laramore
How often do you encounter or experience wrongs in this world? Are you attentive to others? Where do you find joy?
In your journal, express gratitude for your current circumstances. Reflect on ways to pursue good for those around you.
From A Generous Life: 28 Days of Devotion. Copyright © 2019 Abingdon Press. All rights reserved.