She called you names, so you called her names.
He hit you, so you hit him back.
She spread rumors about you, so you spread rumors about her.
He betrayed you, so you betrayed him.
and the cycle goes on and on.
God says His people are supposed to be different and used Paul to write this instruction to the believers at Thessaloniki.
He’s essentially saying to them to not allow one another to give evil for evil or wrong for wrong.
It’s wrong to call names, to denigrate someone, destroying and crushing their spirit.
It’s wrong to hit someone, causing physical and emotional damage.
It’s wrong to gossip, spreading discord among the family of believers.
It’s wrong to betray, breaking spirit, heart, and soul.
It is just as wrong to repay with the same behavior.
It is never right to do wrong. NEVER.
But, Faye, it will feel so good to get that person back for what they did!
Yeah, maybe for a minute.
Think about the evil that has to live in your heart and mind in order to get that repayment. You have to see what was done as a major offense and determine exactly what needs to be done in vengeance. You plan out how to get that recompense that you “deserve” because of their behavior, then you work hard to carry that out.
God is not glorified by that. Jesus is not lifted high by that. And your soul becomes tarnished and blackened by it. Is that what you really want?
There is only one thing we can control in this world, and that is how we respond to things. Our instant reaction may be hurt, anger, fear, etc, but how we respond to it is in our control, and we must be careful with that. Our response is a part of our will and when we let it run wild, untempered by the Spirit of God living in us, we join the other person in sin and destroy our witnes, pushing others away from Jesus.
Paul shared the better way: to do good to each other and to everybody. THIS way glorifies God and lifts Jesus high because it is not natural. It is not normal human behavior. It is a conscious choice to do differently, to be different.
The next time someone does wrong to you, consider what your choices are and choose well. Your relationship with God is on the line. He will still love you always, but you will create a separation between you and Him that can only be resolved by your confession and repentance.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.
P.S. That “not allowing” thing? That means that believers have the responsibility when they see this kind of behavior to say something about it to the one doing it. That one won’t like being challenged, but as a believer in Jesus, that’s what we’re supposed to do AND accept.
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Faye Bryant is an author, coach, and speaker who helps individuals escape the lies of the enemy, live into God’s truth, and build a better life by first feeling, dealing, and healing their way through a stuck future or an abused past, toward a deeper path of purpose, and into the unhackable life of their chosen legacy. Hers is a story of resurrection: from death to life!