Resist Revenge and Do Good

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, NIV) 

Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong. But always try to do what is good for each other and for all people. – (1 Thessalonians 5:15, ERV) 

Resist revenge, and make sure that no one pays back evil in place of evil but always pursue doing what is beautiful to one another and to all the unbelievers. – (1 Thessalonians 5:15, TPT) 

We are living in some seriously crazy times. After months of staying at home, and countless individuals attempting to survive without an income, unrest was lying dormant, ready to blow. Then, atrocities against humanity, caught on video and shared nationwide, were the fuel that sparked the already burning embers of desperation and despair. It is difficult to differentiate the peaceful protest that is taking place, from the rioting, looting and growing violence. Peaceful protest is not paying back wrong for wrong, but rather is a way to take a stand for what is good and right, in a way that grabs the attention of those who need to hear. Sadly, the angst that already existed, has been fueled in such a way, that people want to repay wrongs with wrongs. Our nation’s cities are on fire. In attempt to demand justice, anarchy is becoming intertwined with standing for what is right. How can we do good for all and bring an end to the chaos? I don’t know the solution, but I do know where I turn. God is good and just and kind. His love and compassion for people is incomparable.  Lord, help us all. We need peace and solutions and justice. Chaos cannot reign. Returning to life as we knew it seems elusive and far off. Clearly there are some aspects of what we knew that need to change, but our freedom to work, be out, see family and friends, worship together – these things are the very fabric of what weaves our hearts together and settles the unsettled spaces. All I know is to pray and to choose to do good, even when revenge feels justified. May we, as a nation, seek to do what is good and right, so that justice may reign, and the felt need for repaying those who do harm with harm that ravages our cities, ends. 

Lord, to You we come, 

Bowed heads, bended knee; 

May righteousness reign, 

O God, hear our plea. 

Forgive the ugly, 

And make right the wrongs; 

Help us to rise up, 

United and strong. 

Bring Your true justice, 

Restore, make things right; 

Let Your love lead us, 

To peaceably fight. 

Examine our hearts, 

Show us where to change; 

Let all be in love, 

We pray in Your Name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the midst of ugliness, injustice and unrest, You still reign. Thank You that You can bring hope and healing and wholeness to our communities and cities and nation. Forgive us for our desire to repay evil with evil. Teach us to strive what is good for one another, ever choosing to love first. Show us how to love one another as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we resist revenge and seek to do good. Amen. 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 19:18

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