Overcome Evil With Good
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear 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.
- The Problem of Evil Treatment
- What should we expect in life?
If we expect people to behave well all of the time, we will be disappointed.
- Focus on your own behavior
We are called to reflect the love and mercy of God regardless of the way those around us are acting.
When this is hard then we are getting a good spiritual workout.
- Consider the teaching and example of Jesus
Was Jesus treated poorly? By whom?
- Leave Room for God’s Wrath
- You are not allowed revenge
Why would we want to exact revenge on others? Because they deserve it!
- God will avenge what is needed to be avenged
Vengeance is Mine, says God.
James 1: 19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
- I will repay
This could be the most frightening verse in the Bible.
III. Overcome Evil with Good
- We cannot overcome evil with more evil
Even and “eye for an eye” leaves us with difficulty.
Forgiveness of sin is what is Godly!
“Dead Birds” anthropology film
- We can overcome evil with good
Stop the cycle. How did Jesus do this? Someone must pay the price to stop the cycle of evil. The ultimate necessity of forgiveness of evil.
Peace Child by Don Richardson
Jesus pays the price of God’s wrath on our sin.
- Love your enemies
If he is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
Find the references to this behavior in Jesus’ teaching:
Matthew 5: 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Luke 3: 11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Luke 6: 27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
The Story of the Good Samaritan: Your neighbor is the one that you hate.
The historical background of the Jewish people:
They see themselves as being in exile still. And the pagan Romans are justly deserving of the wrath of God. But Paul has just demonstrated throughout the book of Romans that the Jews are also deserving of God’s wrath. And Romans 10 which has Deuteronomy 30 as it’s background is the way to return from exile, not the destruction of their enemies!
Rome is not the problem. Sin is the problem.