Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NIV)
That is a losing proposition. What is a losing proposition? It is a losing proposition to try to pay back someone for the wrong they have done to you. I agree with you. Tell me why you think it is a losing proposition to try to pay someone back for the wrongs they have done to you. No one ever wins in paying wrong for wrong. No one ever gets ahead. No one ever becomes satisfied. Anger and revenge and bitterness will eat a person alive. Anger and revenge and bitterness only increases stress and anxiety. It will shorten a life. It will eliminate happiness and kill joy. There is no up-side to paying wrong for wrong. It is a tool of the devil that will steal, kill and destroy life, which is his evil goal. I have no desire to participate in his plan. I will do nothing to further his efforts. That’s good.
What will you do instead of trying to pay wrong for wrong? What will be your attitude and action plan towards those who have wronged you? I have only one strategy. I have only one hope. What’s that? I will pray for those who have hurt and harmed me. That’s it? That’s all? No, that is just a start. Tell me more about this start. As I pray for those who have harmed me, I know what will happen. What’s that? You will change my heart and mind toward people who harmed me. You will help me to let go of angry and bitter and resentful thoughts. You will help me to see those who harmed me through your eyes. You will help me to love and be kind to everyone, including those who have hurt and harmed me. Yes, I will. You can count on it.
Why can you be sure that praying for others, including those who have harmed you, is the right approach? That’s easy to answer. Why is that? All I will need to do is look at your example. All I will have to do is do what you did. What did I do? You loved and forgave everyone. You prayed for those who hurt and harmed you. You loved and cared for and were kind to everyone, even those who thought and acted as your enemies. Yes, I did.
What will be the result of your being kind to everyone, including those who have hurt and harmed you? Some former adversaries may become my friends. Some who have hurt and harmed me may see your love flowing in and through me. Some may be drawn to you and come to know you because they have seen your light and life in me. Wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t that be something to celebrate? Could we rejoice together over that? Yes, we could. Yes, we will. Thank you, Lord.
Lord, at times, I have been the source of adversarial relationships with others. I have fallen to the temptation of paying back wrong for wrong. Forgive me. Help me now, to follow your example by being kind to everyone, including those who have harmed me. Amen
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