Reflections: Friday of the Third Week after the Epiphany

Today’s Reading: Romans 12:16-21

Daily Lectionary: Zechariah 6:1-7:14; Romans 16:17-27

Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil. (Romans 12:16c-17a)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It seems like the smart thing to do. I mean, someone wrongs you, you wrong them back. Right? If they speak evil of you, you speak evil of them. Meet hatred with hatred, pushing and shoving with pushing and shoving. After all, if you aren’t looking out for you, who is? Right? 

To all that, you can hear Jesus saying, “O you of little faith” (Matthew 6:30). And He is right. Thinking I am alone in this world, with no one to look out for me but me, I often take matters into my own hands, only to end up lashing out at others. Yes, such little faith.     

You, too? Repent, because those thoughts aren’t true. You are never alone in this world. That our flesh insists on believing otherwise is just evidence of the unbelief still tucked away in our hearts. That’s where all our sin comes from, “O you of little faith.”

Good News: The antidote is not you, but Jesus. For every proof of the unbelief you and I were born with and that will be with us all the way to the grave Jesus answered for by His sacrifice upon the Cross. All the evidence of our unbelief lies forever buried now beneath His death for us upon the Cross. You are holy to God. You are His child. You are forgiven everything. God’s gracious presence and happy smile are with you now and forever. Jesus’ water, Word, and Supper promise you this.

So, you think it smarts when others hurt you? Guess what? It smarts God even more, because you are His dear child. He’s got this. He’s got you. And He will never let go. If others mean you harm, and God allows it, it’s only because God is using it to accomplish a greater good for you, or for others, that you can’t see right now (Genesis 50:20). Trust Him on that. If others refuse to live in peace with you, fine. You can do the honorable thing by leaving the whole business, and any vengeance, in God’s hands and continuing on with the greatest work of all: love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

For how does good overcome evil? The Cross. That’s how. That’s always how. Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

We share our mutual woes, Our mutual burdens bear And often for each other flows The sympathizing tear. From sorrow, toil, and pain, And sin we shall be free And perfect love and friendship reign Through all eternity (“Blest Be the Tie That Binds” LSB 649, st.3,5)

-Rev. Bradley Drew is pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Pastor-psychiatrist duo Rev. A. Trevor Sutton and Dr. Brian Smith have teamed up to help you evaluate your technology use through a Christian perspective. Learn how to form healthy, faithful technology habits with Jesus at the center. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.