And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 -
It was probably about ten years ago that one of my church members, as a surprise for his over-worked, over-wrought wife, bought a bouquet of small roses from a street vendor.
The gesture only cost him a few dollars and he knew it would brighten her day.
Wishing to make a formal presentation of his gift, the husband went to the front door and rang the bell. When his wife opened the door, he was standing there with a great, big (she says it was an "idiotic") smile on his face.
In his hand he proudly presented the roses.
Without taking time to think, his wife blurted out, "Listen, hubbie, the baby has a touchy stomach; the washing machine is broken, and your son got into a fight with another boy at school today. And now, you've really made my day perfect by coming home after you've been drinking."
It didn't take long for the wife to see the error of her ways and offer an apology. Even so, it does show that all of us, at some point in time, assume the worst of others.
A friend may try to help us, but we see them as a "busybody." A teacher may try to give extra assistance to a student, but that's just "picking on him." A policeman may stop us in an attempt to slow us down, but we assume he's just trying to write his quota of tickets.
Luther rightly pointed out that people want others to believe only the best about them, while they often judge others most harshly.
That's a far cry from what St. Paul urged God's people to do when he wrote, "seek to do good to one another and to everyone."
Yup, everyone! And if you're wondering why we should be good to everyone, I have to point you to Jesus' Last Supper where the Savior tried to do good to the man who would soon betray Him. Look to the cross from which Jesus forgave those who had nailed Him there.
Now if Jesus can forgive those who were guilty of His murder, I ought to try and do the same for others who may or may not be guilty of far lesser crimes against me.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Jesus set an example that none of us can successfully copy. Even so, may we all try our best to honor Him by putting the best construction on the work of others. This I pray in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries