1 Thessalonians – Week 7


1 Thessalonians 5:15 Intro

Imagine that feeling you have when someone wrongs you. Think of something you’ve experienced, like a co-worker taking credit for your work, a friend gossiping about you, or getting catcalled on the street. That visceral desire for payback, that “how dare you!” response is the spark for the tinder in our hearts. That burning anger is fed by our survival instinct, pride, desire for social standing, and even our sense of fairness or justice. Typically, when we’re hurt, we want to hurt someone back. That response, as reflexive as it may be, isn’t born of God, and by the Holy Spirit he reshapes our responses with his mercy, justice, and love.

In our discussion this week we’ll look at Paul’s exhortation to not “repay evil for evil” in 1 Thessalonians 5:15. Again, it’s a really short passage, but it’s still pretty hefty. To unpack this, we’ll turn to 1 Peter 2. In that passage Peter looks at Jesus’ unjust suffering on behalf of our sins and sees a new response for us to give when we’re wronged. Christ lived the ultimate example of this; though our sin was an insult to God, he still came to suffer and win us wholly undeserved blessings. Now, when we suffer, we don’t have to try to retaliate.(1 Pet. 2:23) Instead of insulting someone back when we’re insulted, we can bless.(1 Pet. 3:9) This is all because Jesus has set us free from sin; now we’re dead to sin, and alive to the righteousness of Jesus.(1 Pet. 2:24)

Questions for Discussion

• Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 5:15

• What’s your first reaction to this verse?

• What do you think is going on inside you when you want to “repay evil for evil”?

• Let’s turn to 1 Peter 2:19-25. Can someone read that for us?

• What does this passage mention about Jesus? How does that relate to us not “repaying evil for evil”?

• What do you find challenging about this passage?

• How do you want to grow in living according to this passage?