“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15
There are so many ways to take this passage and incorporate it into our daily life. But it boils down to one simple principle. Forgiveness. That is not always an easy thing to do. In fact, it can be down right hard.
When someone wounds us, emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially, and so on, our first reaction is often retaliation. But that only keeps us in a constant vicious cycle of violence and anger. Jesus calls us to be peace makers not war mongers. We must learn, therefore, to not only see Jesus in others but to also learn how to forgive others just as we have been forgiven.
A daily practice of peace and reconciliation can help.
When I meet with people who are experiencing anger or resentment towards others (especially in church or in their own family) I am quick to remind them of the grace that has been given to them. This requires taking a detailed inventory of one's life. It's not until we see all that has been done for us that we begin to see that the same has been down for others. God allows it to rain on the crops of a sinner just as it does on the crops of the saint.
A good practice of peace and reconciliation begins with looking at yourself in a mirror...naked. Yes, naked. Take a good hard look at yourself, notice more hair or the lack there of, more wrinkles and scars than you care to count, six extra pounds of curves instead of a six pack of abs. See yourself as you are, were you are unable to hide from the brutal truth of life.
And then begin to forgive yourself as God has already forgiven you. Only then can we be at peace with who God has made in us. And see things for what they really are, a blessing. Only then will we begin to see the same naked truth that God has placed in others.
God's grace is for all who seek it. So instead of paying back an eye-for-an-eye, pay forward the grace of God which was made manifest in a vulnerable, naked little baby.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”