Wednesday, November 29
Love for hate
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4-5, 2 Thessalonians 1-3
1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but at all times make it your aim to do good to one another and to all people.
Love is doing what is best for another no matter what it costs you. In this letter to the Thessalonians, Paul commends them for their love and encourages them to love more.
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 There is no need to write to you about love for your fellow-believers. You yourselves have been taught by God how you should love one another. 10 And you have, in fact, behaved like this towards all the brothers and sisters in all Macedonia. So we beg you, our brothers and sisters, to do even more.
This is love for fellow believers—other Christians. What about those who are not Christians?
Love is expressed in doing good for someone. It is not just a feeling, but an action. So in 5:15, Paul encourages them to do good to one another (fellow believers) and to all people. Love everyone always.
1 Thessalonians 3:12 May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow more and more and become as great as our love for you.
(See also Romans 12:17-18, Galatians 6:10, Colossians 4:5, 2 Timothy 2:24, Titus 3:2, 1 Peter 2:17. All these verses indicate that we are to love everyone.)
This follows “See that no one pays back wrong for wrong.” When someone mistreats us, we naturally want to pay them back. Punish them. But Paul (and Jesus) teach us to return good for evil, love for hate. When someone wrongs us, we should think, “How can I do something good for them?”
Prayer: Lord, help my love for all people to grow more and more!