Overcoming Evil with Good

When someone wrongs us, our instinctive reaction is to strike back - to give them a taste of their own medicine.

    “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.” Romans 12:17

When someone wrongs us, our instinctive reaction is to strike back – to give them a taste of their own medicine.

If we’re insulted, we insult them back. If we’re mistreated, we seek to even the score. We tell ourselves we’re just standing up for what’s right and not letting them get away with it.

But while retaliation can provide a fleeting sense of satisfaction, it fails to heal the hurt we feel.

Trading evil for evil only breeds more animosity and discord.

Paul exhorts us to break free from reactionary retaliation. As followers of Christ, we’re called to take the high road and not mirror the wrong behavior of others.

Overcoming Evil

How do we overcome evil with good?

First, we refrain from reacting in kind. Rather than being controlled by evil events, we ask God for strength to control our response.

This requires tapping into God’s power to rein in our tongue, temper, and thoughts. We refrain from angry outbursts, bitter speech, or plotting revenge.

Instead, we bless those who hurt us through prayer and acts of kindness.

Luke 6:28

Second, we do what is right and honorable in God’s eyes. This means speaking truth with love, readily forgiving injuries, and trying to be at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).

We extend mercy not to condone wrongdoing but to point others to the transforming grace that’s changed our own hearts.

Breaking the Cycle

Each act of retaliation, no matter how slight, fuels a cycle of ongoing tit-for-tat. But by absorbing the blow without returning it, we interrupt the downward spiral.

Like detonating a bomb in mid-air, responding to evil with good defuses volatile situations.

It often pricks the conscience of our offender, prompting them to self-reflect. And it testifies that the love of Christ can overcome hatred and conflict.

Of course, not repaying evil for evil does not mean staying in abusive situations.

We may need to maintain firm boundaries or utilize the law to protect ourselves and others from harm. But even then, we do so without harboring bitterness.

Power of Good

Battling evil with evil unleashes more forces of destruction into the world. Battling evil with good unleashes the power of God.

When we let go of anger and embrace love, we are never overcome by evil.

God infuses each act of mercy and forgiveness with redemptive potential. By relying on His strength, evil can be overcome each time we choose good.

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