S: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who labor among you and preside over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them most highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 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. Do not extinguish the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt. But examine all things; hold fast to what is good. Stay away from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is trustworthy, and he will in fact do this. Brothers and sisters, pray for us too. Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. I call on you solemnly in the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
O: Paul holds forth a lofty goal to shoot for us here as a Christian community.
It's relatively easy to do good to those who treat us well, but man, is it hard to repay evil with good! Yet, that's what Christ taught us, and Paul now reiterates.
The Thessalonians were urged to even greet each other with a holy kiss! Now, that'd be hard to get away with in our current societal norms here in Malaysia. I remember when I first came back to Malaysia after many years in USA -- how I missed being hugged at church! But the principle stays the same regardless of what culture you find yourself in: be friendly and hospitable.
A: Is it hard to act in the manner urged by Paul in the above verses? Yes, certainly. But it if you aim at nothing, you'll certainly hit it. How much better it is to aim high and achieve something good, even if it's not perfection.
P: Father, this is a tall order to live up to, but I trust that if I abide in You, You will bring me closer and closer to the image of Christ. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)