Our scripture this morning is ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:12-22.

“Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.”

Paul shares a wide variety of sound teaching in this passage, speaking of our relationships with each other and God. All of this instruction is intended to make us aware of our responsibility to care for one another. You can’t love God and hate His children.

Jesus came to show us God’s love in action. The result of real love is acting as Christ would in all situations. Sadly, we are not perfect in our love yet, but we can continue to grow. God is ready to forgive us when we repent and return to Him.

This guidance from God through Paul sounds simple; why then do we find it so hard to obey and practice it? Our world encourages us to do whatever we feel like, regardless of its effect on others. God created us to love Him and one another, caring about their needs above our own. If we continue to “hold on to what is good” and “stay away from every kind of evil” (v. 22), we can joyfully obey.

Loving Lord, it is hard to see Your children mistreated and suffering. Forgive us and show us how we can live and love each other as You intend. Amen.

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