“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15/KJV).
Our reactions, our deeds and behaviours are largely determined by what we think. The values and beliefs we adopt have an impact on what we do.
As a matter of fact, as long as we live in this world, there will be people doing some evil. At times we too may suffer wrong from others.
Here Paul is concerned, not with what others do to us, but rather with what we do to others. A Christian should not be found doing evil. A Christian should not even indulge in paying back evil for evil received.
Why is that? We have a higher calling. We are to live for that which is good. We are called to be a blessing to our fellow believers and to all men.
Much depends on what we focus on. You can either meditate on all the wrong that may have been done to you, or you can direct your thoughts to the words of the bible and to the good purposes God has for your life.
When I was young I used to read and hear various reports about spiritual revivals. Those were times when many people got interested in the Christian faith.
Believers would rejoice about the central facts of Christian teaching. Christ has died for our sins that we might be forgiven. He has risen from the dead so that we would get a chance to live a new kind of life.
Those believers used to be very prepared to learn from the word of God. They were not scared of some scripture passage telling them they had done wrong. They were ready to be criticised by the words of the bible.
Why is that? They knew that Jesus does forgive sins. They had experienced the joy of being forgiven and of a restored relationship with God. They knew, becoming aware of sin and confessing it to God leads to a new quality of life.
Sadly, even such revival movements have tended to lose that focus. At times rejoicing about the love of God has been replaced by criticising each other.
It is possible to kind of specialise in telling others how they should behave. This can even lead you to neglect your own behaviour.
Paul here exhorts us to “ever follow that which is good” – among fellow Christians and among those who do not belong to our church or churches.
Love “thinketh no evil”. Love would be concerned with doing good to others.