“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15
Words matter, particularly in the Greek language of the New Testament. The Greek word Paul used for “wrong” in the verse above is kaka. Now, that is a perfect choice — “Make sure that nobody pays back kaka for kaka.” What an awful way to live.
When Paul countered with a word translated “good,” he could have used the Greek word kalos. It refers to outer beauty. When you gaze at a sunset, you might say, “That is so kalos.” If you give a kalos response to someone, you might offer a kind or courteous word on the outside while you are steaming with anger on the inside. But instead of using kalos, Paul used agathos, which refers to an outward act toward others that is first generated from an inner moral sense of what is right and best for that person. This inward sense rests in our heart, where the key beliefs of Christianity and Christ himself resides. Regardless of what people offer us, we offer Jesus back to them.
The next time someone dishes you up a little kaka, don’t repay them with kaka or even some nice kalos. Go deep into your heart and pull out a serving of agathos.
— from The 31 Day Believe Devotional by Randy and Rozanne Frazee