Our scripture this morning is 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18.

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the undisciplined, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient toward all. See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Paul reiterates Christ’s words to us, “In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets” – Matthew 7:12. The warning not to pay back evil for evil is essential to living as Jesus showed us. Christians are taught to love one another as He did and not seek retribution for acts against us.

Jesus gives us many examples of forgiving each other as God forgives us. One of the best comes in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, found in Matthew 18:21-35. God forgives us of all our sin and we are called to forgive others in the same way.

The greatest testament to Christ’s forgiveness is Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing”. Even as humans crucified Him, Jesus asked God to forgive them. Jesus loved us so much He went to the cross at our hands and yet petitioned God not to hold our sin against us. May we learn to love one another as He first loved us.

Merciful Lord, You thought we were worth saving and sent Your only son to show us the way. May we learn and grow in His example that we may truly be Your children. Amen.

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