No Paybacks

no paybacksThe Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

Could there be a simpler, easier to understand command in the Bible? It’s very straightforward without any hidden meaning, right? Yet, it is a command that is extremely difficult to actually carry out. We get the concept; it’s putting it into practice that we struggle with.

No vengeance. No retribution. Instead, always do for others what you would like them to do for you. Let kindness and compassion trump payback. The Golden Rule restated.

The Apostle Peter shared a similar thought, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless” (1 Peter 3:9). Those who deserve that slap across the face, give them compassion instead. Yet, our fleshly nature bristles against the very idea.

Jesus phrased it slightly differently when He said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:27-28).

If it was a single, solitary reference—a one-time occurrence in the Bible—it would be easier to ignore. But it’s not. The idea is repeated over and over.

Paul even took it a step further. “To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?” (1 Corinthians 6:7). Why not rather suffer wrong? Be defrauded? Me?!

Yup. That’s what it says.

Someone once said that there is no revenge as sweet as forgiveness. I think that’s right. Let mercy triumph, not vengeance.

That is, after all, what, what God did for us.

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