In a marriage seminar, I learned to avoid using the word always when arguing with my husband Bert.
The teacher gave these “he said/she said” examples:
She says, “You always leave your underwear on the floor,” or “You’re always on the phone.”
He says, “You always burn the toast,” or “You’re always talking .”
Don’t do that!
The Bible, though, uses the word always in much better ways. For example, “Jesus told them a parable that they ought always to pray and not turn coward or lose heart ” (Luke 18:1 AMP).
Always pray. We may think, “I’ve prayed. Nothing happened. Maybe I’m not praying the right way.” But God says, “Don’t faint. Don’t stop.” Keep believing that God will do what he knows is best for us.
The prayer life of Jesus is our perfect example. He prayed all the time. He acknowledged God the Father in everything he did. He prayed alone, but he also prayed with and for others. And he prayed for us!. What better encouragement can we have to always pray?
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I’ll say it again; Rejoice.” Think about the word rejoice. “Re” means to go back, or go over again. When we don’t feel like rejoicing, or when we think we have nothing to be happy about, we need to go back over what Christ has done for us. For starters, he’s provided eternal live and promised to be with us always.
Finally, in 1 Thessalonians 5:15, we find, “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” Paying back evil for evil involves many things. Someone hits us, we hit back. ‘Doesn’t help. You’ve seen in sports that it’s usually the guy who hits back that gets the penalty. The refs almost never see the first blow.
Not hitting back isn’t enough, though. If we don’t hit back, we may still be full of resentment, waiting to retaliate, holding a deep, ugly grudge. That’s no way to live. We keep thinking that we’re right and they’re wrong. What they did just burns us up. Yes, it does burn us, but that hatred (we never call it that, but of course that’s what it is) doesn’t burn them at all.
Jesus tells us to forgive as we have been forgiven. For me, that’s a lot of forgiving. Instead of evil for evil, we are always to do good to fellow believers and to everyone else.
How do we do that sort of good? We can give money, time, talents, emotional support or physical support. We can give smiles, kind words, encouraging words, praise, and hope. We can tell our story of what God has done for us.
How often we hear ourselves say, “There’s nothing I can do.” Or “I just don’t know what to do.” The Bible tells us what to do. Always pray, rejoice, and do good.