Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:15
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
This week I want to paint a clear picture of what kindness looks like as we practice it on our spouse. Our scripture for yesterday and today starts with the instructions not to pay back wrong for wrong. Bad marriages practice “paybacks.” The husband says or does something inconsiderate – the wife comes back with an equal or more hurtful payback. The wife, having had a bad day, snaps at the husband and he shifts into a defensive mode which usually means sending “zingers” back at her. This cycle, if not attended to, causes deep resentments and, ultimately, divorces.
God’s answer to our human tendencies is His grace working in us. We must seek out His inner strength to overcome our “payback” mentality. Jesus modeled it many times while He walked on earth, refusing to pay back the unjust wrongs that came His way. The Bible tells us to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). This works at home.
If both the husband and wife are committed to this practice of “no more paybacks,” differences can be dealt with quickly and constructively. But even if one begins this discipline, it makes a huge improvement. It takes two for this “payback cycle” to keep its energy. If, with God’s grace, one decides to return a kind word for a hurtful word, the healing begins! Practicing kindness, when properly understood, does not refuse to deal with issues; only to deal with them kindly. We speak “our” truth, but we speak that truth in love!
Father, this ‘payback cycle’ is too powerful for me to break without your mighty power. Please fill me with fresh strength today – In Jesus’ Name, amen.