“See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.”
Words like these can be pretty damning. I hear them and think, “I’m not doing that. I’m guilty of desiring vengeance. I’ve been known to withhold good from someone who treated me ill.” These words are hard to live up to—impossible for us humans, anyway. We struggle to balance a thirst for justice with grace. We long for the right but realize that what the world needs is mercy. And we shake our heads as we contemplate the conundrum of “speaking the truth in love.”
But if we look closely, we can see that these words are also very freeing. They absolve us of the responsibility of judging our neighbor, which isn’t really ours in the first place. They give us license to be kind in the midst of cruelty. On wings of compassion, we can rise above the ugliness of human indifference and demonstrate the love of God as his messengers of light in the darkness.
It’s not easy to hear the words that convict us of petty human frailties, but sometimes we need those words to remind us that ours is a nobler existence, pressing on to higher ground. And if sometimes we slip, we’ll be there to catch one another, without judgment.
That’s something to think about.