25 Jan Day 21: Overcome Evil with Good
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them […] 17 Repay no one evil for evil but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:14;17-21).
Because our world is tainted by sin, evil inevitably exists. In these verses, Paul tells us that we should not repay others for the evil that is shown to us. However, that does not mean we should passively endure suffering in the face of evil. Rather, the call is to bless those who persecute us, live peaceably with all, and actively love our enemies. What impact does this have? When we intentionally work to overcome evil with good:
- We set ourselves apart from the corruption that is in line with worldly standards. We are usually tempted to combat evil with evil rather than good, even when we know that two wrongs don’t make a right. When confronted by our enemies, our first reaction is typically fear, anger, frustration, vengeance…the list goes on, but none of these responses are particularly “good”. Let’s strive then to respond with love, joy, compassion, and understanding (or other responses in line with God’s character). That is what sets us apart.
- We are used by God to stop the spread of evil. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us, who equips and enables us to combat the evil we face. It’s not only that we have this incredible power, but we also need this power; we need the Holy Spirit in order to respond to evil with good because we cannot do it on our own.
- We demonstrate the love of Jesus and his character to those around us. Jesus loved those who hated him, so much so that he died a painful death on the cross to save them. In arguably the most evil event that has ever taken place here on this earth, God’s love was poured out for all people. Good overcame evil!
Overcoming evil with good is a response that is not always natural or normal or even of this world. However, let’s live in this way, confidently knowing that although evil permeates the earth, Jesus has overcome evil once and for all through his death on the cross, so we don’t have to live in fear! “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Col.1:13).”
- Ask the Lord to reveal to you the people in your life that you view as enemies. Write those names down and pray that God would help you determine practical ways of how you can actively love and serve them, then do it! Let’s follow in Jesus’ footsteps, “for even the Son Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
- Pray and ask that the Lord would work in our city and world to combat the problem of evil, using his children to accomplish his kingdom purposes here on this earth as He sees fit. Evil can come in many forms, but nothing is too hard for the Lord (Jeremiah 32:17, 27). Boldly ask that our world would be restored and that our enemies would come to know the one true God, who poured out his love for all through Jesus’ death on the cross.