Written by Jenn Vander Meer
‘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
How often do you find yourself wanting to pay back wrong for wrong? For someone tricking or harming you, often? That is a 100% response that we have normalized in today’s age, but in this verse Paul isn’t just talking to one person, it reads ‘nobody’ y’all, that is some hard responsibility – NOBODY is to do harm, we are called to do good.
Is this something that we are in charge of? As Christians, absolutely, as imperfect humans, not likely. We make mistakes and we always will. That is why we are humans and Jesus is Lord.
The translation that I am using says ‘strive’ that word doesn’t say ‘do it’ it says ‘strive’ as if Paul already knew that the future generations were also imperfect, and one thing we can take from 1 Thessalonians is the word ‘strive’ is that we can ‘always strive’!
How great is it that we get to do good, not just for ourselves but for everyone else God is calling.
I like to think of it like a game of tag, we run our fastest to tag someone, we give it our all and strive to ‘pay back’ whomever gets closest to us or if the rules allow us to pay back the person who tagged us right away, but what if we changed that game to do good for others?
Imagine yelling “tag! I tag you to strive to do good in all you do” and tell them to pass it on, and it spreads like wildfire, kind of like what Paul was urging the Corinthians to do in his letters.
How amazing is it that God knew the entire Bible was still going to be applicable today and He tells us what to do knowing full well that you and I are going to fail as humans but also knowing we can lean on Him and strive as Children of God to do good.
Something that I have discovered God doing in my life lately is that it is okay to fail, it’s okay to fumble and it’s okay to break down when life gets tough because we are human and we are not perfect.
Let me say that again: we are not perfect.
We all have jobs, and at some jobs we work for promotions or raises so we strive to work hard for the company in hopes of gaining an earthly monetary reward that doesn’t last long and then we get down mentally and spiritually when that doesn’t come, all the hard work was for nothing.
Imagine putting that effort into doing good, think of the heavenly reward if we were striving to do good for others and how much that will fill us spiritually and mentally! I leave you with this: strive means to exert much effort or energy – to struggle or to fight.
Are you struggling to strive, are you fighting to strive, are you exerting your energy to strive to do good for God and for others?
You won’t be perfect, but with the help of God and prayer I believe that anyone can strive in Christianity if they put energy and effort into it.
Stay neugi [new-gee] (means to stay calm and to be happy).