You’ve probably heard someone say, or you’ve said yourself, “Okay. I’ll try.” Not an uncommon answer to being told (maybe asked) to do something. To that response, I have often heard the Teller’s reply (which is sometimes my own voice), “I didn’t say to try. I said to do it.” Ouch!
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
As followers of Jesus we are to be sure that we don’t pay back wrong for wrong to anyone. At any time. That is mercy. That is grace. That is the way Jesus did it and does it still! We are even called to help and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to choose this way of mercy and grace. This way of Jesus. Returning wrong for wrong in God’s eyes is just wrong.
But we are not only told to be sure that we do not act in any vengeful, self-seeking-justification kind of ways, we are also told to go well beyond that. We are to always strive to do good. That demands that we develop a mindset that chooses to think and listen, a mindset that chooses to not respond too quickly from our own initial (ticked-off) gut reaction whenever we are in the midst of a tense or frustrating circumstance with another person. To always strive to do good will require a mindset that is completely set on allowing God to lead and direct our thoughts, our words and our actions. We will need a mindset that is conformed to the mind of Christ.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2
And God’s will is this: that we are to always strive to do good. Always. This is not just the absence of doing something wrong as payback to those who have wronged us. This is not a denial of the wrong that has been done. Rather, in choosing to always strive to do good, we fully yield ourselves to the truth that Jesus has already taken on the full punishment – the full payback – for every wrong ever done by every one of us. As we follow Jesus closely, we will be empowered to make proactive, intentional, unselfish choices to be good. Always. God calls us to always strive to do good for those within our closest, most intimate circles, for those we know well, for those we know as acquaintances, for those we know only superficially and fleetingly, for those we may never see again…and for everyone else.
We are called to let the mindset of Christ – His goodness, kindness and love, His mercy and grace – move us to live in and walk like Him. Our God knows we are not yet perfect. Still, He calls us to always strive to do good for each other and for everyone else. And whenever our God calls us to do something, He will also give us the strength to do it!
I can do all things through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13
Our God is the God of no loopholes. In our Lord Jesus and through His loving, merciful, compassionate power, we are given the strength to always strive to do good for everyone. So, let’s do it!