Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21
In his comment from yesterday’s Catch, our brother, Paul, reminded us of this verse. (Not Paul the Apostle, who wrote it, but our Paul, who may be an apostle himself; we’re still finding that out!) How apropos these words are to our current cultural climate of hatred and division.
This is one of the most distinguishable callings for Christians today: to overcome evil with good. There is so much evil out there — so much evil activity and evil intent. The point is not who or what you are for, but who or what you are against. So little positive influence. It’s a great time for the gospel to stand out because there’s nothing like it out there.
Step back. If someone wrongs you, step back. Don’t retaliate. Everyone’s expecting you to. Don’t. Leave them scratching their heads. In fact, go a step farther and return good for evil. Otherwise, you too will be overcome with evil. That’s the way evil works. It draws you into its net. Someone does evil to you, and you feel justified in doing evil back, except that now you have become the evildoer. The enemy has caught you. The only way to stop this dangerous cycle is to do good back. Pull the plug on evil; return evil with good. Do this today, and you will stand out.
Doing good is not only a good thing to do, it is overcoming. If you really want to get to your enemy, do good to him/her. Doing good to an enemy is more devastating than doing evil. Not that it is your motivation to hurt them, it’s just the nature of good and evil. Evil appears more powerful, but in the end, it is good that overcomes.
This is a time for believers to stand out. Not because we are waving our Christianity in front of people, or letting our freak flag fly, but because the agenda of Jesus in the world is so quietly antithetical to everything the world is currently churning out. I think that’s what it means to “heap burning coals” on someone’s head. Good is simply not what is expected today. Good disarms evil.