1 Thessalonians 5: 15-18
15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
We here in America, and all over the world for that matter, need to commit to memory these few sentences from St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. Then, try to actually apply them to our daily routine. I know this would help me. Comfort and Grace shows up when we finally realize and accept, that God has the controls…
1. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. I believe that standing up for our rights, and protecting our families or ourselves does not constitute rendering evil for evil. But, when I reflect on my thoughts and feelings, maybe I need to take a longer look at this line. When I hear a spokesman from Planned Parenthood talk about all the good they do for women’s health care, I react with anger. I certainly cannot say that I am acting in a Christ-like manner when I day dream about turning a fire hose on the weenie college students that feel they don’t have a safe enough space away from conservative ideals… Jesus told us to love our enemies and to pray for them. An easy task, right? No, this maybe the hardest of all, but we have to give it our best. I have a long way to go to get this one scratched off my list. I am more inclined to turn into the Hulk after watching the news, than to turn into a Saint.
2. Rejoice always. Normally, this should be an easy admonition to follow. But, when we get wrapped up into all the earthly goings on, it’s no small no wonder we can’t rejoice. We need to follow the Word, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. If you belong to the Church, the Body of Christ, then rejoicing always should come naturally without any question.
3. Pray without ceasing. I know that I do not pray near enough. I try harder to pray now days, but I still have a long way to go. I doubt if I am alone here. St. Francis de Sales once said, “Every one of us needs half an hour of prayer a day, except when we are busy – then we need an hour.” While writing that quote down it came to me that I can’t remember the last time or anytime where I actually prayed for an hour… I need to change that.
4. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Nothing exists that isn’t of God. So, we need to be thankful for everything, good and bad. I try to do this often, but I know I don’t thank God enough. In spite of all the political problems in our country, we truly are blessed here. Though we must stand guard that our religious freedom stays protected, we do not have to worry about being tortured or killed just because we serve Christ. Many Christians in the Middle East suffer and become Martyrs. We must never take anything for granted and always give thanks to God.