(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 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. 20 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.”21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I will admit that it is difficult to know what to do when evil affects you and your family personally. Emotions tell me to strike back. My hurting soul wants to make them hurt more. A lack of trust in the judicial system leads one to try to settle the score.
Repaying evil for evil…or sinning when you’ve been sinned against never is a good idea.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
When you are wronged, the natural desire is to even the score which usually if not always involves sinning in return. I don’t know how many times I was called for a “retaliation foul” in basketball. I felt I was fouled. The ref didn’t call it, so I figured I would “get even.” Which I didn’t…I just got caught.
This doesn’t just happen on the basketball court, it happens in life. We get cut off in traffic, the temptation is to zoom ahead and cut them off. We are harmed by a bully, we want to strike back. It is so hard to NOT repay evil with evil. It’s what comes so naturally and easily.
Yet the Spirit of God through the Apostle Paul encourage us to do the following:
- Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Being sinned against is NOT an excuse to sin in return.
- Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. I don’t think this is encouraging us all to be “people pleasers” but it is reacting and interacting in a way that is consistent with the love and mercy of Christ.
- If it is possible, live at peace with everyone. It may not be possible, but our effort and desire is to end the conflict and restore a functional relationship in the body of Christ.
- Do not take revenge, but leave room for God’s wrath. God didn’t make anyone of us his judge, jury and executioner, so to speak. Sometimes we have to allow injustice to be and understand eventually that person will have to answer to the perfect holy God. Here’s a word of truth from the Prophet Nahum (1:2-3)
2 The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The Lord takes vengeance on his foes
and maintains his wrath against his enemies.
3 The Lord is slow to anger and great in power;
the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.
- Rather show kindness to your enemies. Why? In this way it will accentuate the evil they have done. It will show you are not willing to hit back. It is showing confidence that you don’t have to settle the score…God will if there is a score to be settled.
- Finally, repay evil with good. This is so hard, but it keeps you from sinning in response to sin, it shows your trust that God will sort it out, and it will show that you recognize that God has loved you, even though at one time you were his enemy.
Showing kindness is hard, but a powerful witness of God’s truth, character and love and the solution he gives for evil.
Apply: What situation is in your life that it is hard to think about showing kindness? What kind act might you show to someone who has done evil to you?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for showing love to me even when I was not showing love to you. Strengthen me, Spirit of God, to repay evil with good…always. AMEN.