See that none render evil for evil - Every temper contrary to love is contrary to Christianity. A peevish, fretful, vindictive man may be a child of Satan; he certainly is not a child of God.
Follow that which is good - That by which ye may profit your brethren and your neighbors of every description, whether Jews or Gentiles.
See that none render evil for evil - See the notes on Matthew 5:39, Matthew 5:44. The meaning here is, that we are not to take vengeance; compare notes on Romans 12:17, Romans 12:19. This law is positive, and is universally binding. The moment we feel ourselves acting from a desire to “return evil for evil,” that moment we are acting wrong. It may be right to defend our lives and the lives of our friends; to seek the protection of the law for our persons, reputation, or property, against those who would wrong us; to repel the assaults of calumniators and slanderers, but in no case should the motive be to do them wrong for the evil which they have done us.
But ever follow that which is good - Which is benevolent, kind, just, generous; see the notes, Romans 12:20-21.
Both among yourselves, and to all men - The phrase “to all men,” seems to have been added to avoid the possibility of misconstruction. Some might possibly suppose that this was a good rule to be observed toward those of their own number, but that a greater latitude in avenging injuries might be allowable toward their enemies out of the church. The apostle, therefore, says that the rule is universal. It relates to the pagan, to infidels, sceptics, and persecutors, as well as to the members of the church. To every man we are to do good as we are able - no matter what they do to us. This is the rule which God himself observes toward the evil and unthankful (notes, Matthew 5:45), and is one of the original and beautiful laws of our holy religion.
“The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” AA 263.1
“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” AA 263.2
The apostle cautioned the Thessalonians not to despise the gift of prophecy, and in the words, “Quench not the Spirit; despise not prophesyings; prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” he enjoined a careful discrimination in distinguishing the false from the true. He besought them to “abstain from all appearance of evil;” and closed his letter with the prayer that God would sanctify them wholly, that in “Spirit and soul and body” they might “be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you,” he added, “who also will do it.” AA 263.3Read in context »
You are carrying a heavy load. I wish that everyone could feel this as I do. I wish that all your brethren would be true and faithful to you, not hindering you, not extolling or glorifying you, but looking upon you as one whom God is using as His instrument to do a given work, and remembering that they must not block the wheels, but must put their shoulder to the wheel, helping instead of hindering. 8T 130.1
Again I say: Rejoice in the Lord. Rest in Him. You need His power, and this power you may have. Go forward firmly, valiantly, courageously. You may err in judgment, but do not lose your hold on Jesus. He is wisdom, He is light, He is power. He is to you as a great Rock in a weary land. Rest under His shadow. You need wisdom, and Jesus will give it to you. Do not be unbelieving. The more you are jostled, misapprehended, misstated, misrepresented, the more evidence you have that you are doing a work for the Master, and the more closely you must cling to your Saviour. In all your difficulties be calm and undisturbed, patient and forbearing, not rendering evil for evil, but good for evil. Look to the top of the ladder. God is above it. His glory shines on every soul ascending heavenward. Jesus is this ladder. Climb up by Him, cling to Him, and erelong you will step off the ladder into His everlasting kingdom. 8T 130.2Read in context »
The royal fugitive does not render evil for evil or railing for railing. He does not harbor revengeful feelings in his heart, but amid his own woes he is kind, noble, and sympathetic. Oh, what a marked contrast has been your course.... TSB 180.1Read in context »