"Turning Wrath Aside"
September 29, 2010
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. 1 Thessalonians 5:15
The younger members of the Daily Devotion readership will not remember the comedian and talk-show host, Gary Moore.
It may help you if I say he is the guy who gave Carol Burnett her start.
Moore, like almost all people who are in the public eye, occasionally would receive a letter penned by an irate critic. If the letter was especially nasty, Mr. Moore handled his response in a rather unique way.
No, he didn't write back using the same mean-spirited tone which identified the original letter. He didn't threaten the person with lawsuits or restraining orders. What he did was simple and effective.
He took the individual's complaining letter and stapled it to a note that read: "The enclosed letter arrived on my desk a few days ago. I am sending it to you in the belief that as a responsible citizen you should know, some idiot is sending out letters using your signature."
Apparently, very few complainers wrote to Gary Moore a second time.
When I read that story, it set me to wondering would people think differently of the Savior if all Jesus' people were equally courteous to their critics?
I know being kind to those who persecute us isn't an easy thing to do. Being courteous rather than vengeful doesn't provide a rush of self-satisfaction.
On the other hand, being kind to those who persecuted Him was the way Jesus lived His life. It's also the way He acted when He was betrayed, tried, condemned, and crucified. Jesus didn't pay back wrong for wrong. Not at all. He kept His tongue during His trials, and He shared words of forgiveness from His cross.
That's the way Jesus was tried, condemned, and died, and it is the way He told us to live. How did St. Paul say it? "Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else."
It's just another way for us to let our light shine and glorify the Father who is in heaven and witness to our brothers and sisters here on earth.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are many people out there who don't know how to curb their tongues. Send Your Holy Spirit upon me so I may learn to curb mine. May my words -- all of them -- be a witness to Jesus Christ and the forgiveness His sacrifice has given me. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries