(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
“Was that kind?”
“What would be the nice thing to do?”
These phrases echo in my mind from childhood and beyond. Which means one thing…I wasn’t always kind.
Kindness is “responding to others from a deep, moral inner conviction of what is the right thing to do for the sake of the other person.” (Randy Fraaze, Believe)
Kindness is tough because it means thinking of what is best for the other person…and we don’t do that naturally.
The Apostle Paul was inspired to write: 1 Thessalonians 5:15 “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.”
The fact that the Spirit of God had to record for us, “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong” means that happens…all too often!
Why do we believe that repaying wrong for wrong will help? Perhaps it’s one of these reasons:
- I will solve the problem by striking back.
When someone cuts me off in traffic, I just zoom ahead of him and cut him off. There, I’m back in front. Really my striking back really doesn’t solve anything. It more than likely makes it worse…just for a split second I feel like the wrong is righted.
- I will settle the score by getting even.
This is probably the biggest reason we feel that repaying wrong for wrong is right. When we are wronged it creates an injustice. Often the wrong is not something that was “deserved” or “provoked” but someone just felt OK hurting me or someone else. So, our response? Make them feel worse or suffer worse than they did to me. Our inner sense for “justice” wants to take justice in our own hands and we become the arbiter of what is fair in response…usually it’s just adding sin to sin.
- I will stand up for myself
Repaying wrong for wrong seems like the manly thing to do. We don’t want to be the “softie” or get pushed around so we stand up for ourselves and fight back. (I’m not saying their might be legitimate times of self-defense that are necessary.)
All these really are lies of the devil to trigger our sinful nature into action and convince it that repaying wrong for wrong is the right thing to do.
It just makes it worse and I’m sure we all have stories of “getting caught” as the person responding to a wrong someone else first inflicted.
So when we are wronged, what is the response?
Jesus taught, (Luke 6:27-31) “ 27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Admittedly it is hard to repay wrong with kindness. It just isn’t natural…but it’s God’s way. Tomorrow we’ll find the reason why we don’t have to repay wrong for wrong, but repay wrong with kindness.
Apply: What leads you to want to repay wrong for wrong?
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for repaying wrong with kindness in our place. All too often we lash out and simply repay wrong for wrong. Forgive us and empower us by your forgiveness and example of one who was always kind, acting in the best interest of the other person. AMEN.