Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Overcome Evil with Good
A Christian friend shared this story from his life. He was driving across town and irritated another driver on the roadway. That driver accelerated past him, yelled some choice words, made an obscene gesture, and sped on by. Not long after, the Christian man saw that same car stopped on the shoulder with car trouble.
What would you have done if that sequence of events happened to you? Would you have laughed at the other driver’s misfortune? Would you have said a prayer or even stopped to help?
Throughout our lives, people are going to say and do evil things that will cause us pain and hardship. Our sinful hearts will want to avenge these wrongs. Our sinful hearts will think that the best way to overcome evil is with evil. God’s Word warns, “Do not be overcome by evil!”
God’s Word also encourages, “But overcome evil with good!” This is only possible through a good God who alone can deliver us from evil and who has overcome the evil of our sin. This is only possible through a just God who assures that he will avenge and repay. This is only possible with a God of peace whose forgiveness allows us to live at peace with him and whose peace enables us, as far as it depends on us, to live at peace with everyone.
So, what did the Christian driver do? He stopped behind the other car. When the driver saw who had stopped, he feared that the man he had treated so poorly would now treat him poorly. But this Christian man hadn’t come to repay evil for evil. He came to offer help and assistance. He overcame evil with good. May our God equip us to do the same!
Lord Jesus, deliver us from evil! Forgive us of the evil we have done to others. Forgive others of the evil they have done to us. In the faith, goodness, and strength you provide, help us to overcome evil with good. Amen.
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