Romans 12:17-21 (New International Version)
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 story is told of a man in Massachusetts many years ago who found his neighbor’s horse in the middle of his field. He was so angry about it that he took the horse to the public pound.
Meeting the owner soon after this, he told him what he had done and added, "If I catch him there again, I will do the same thing."
The neighbor replied, "Well, the other night I looked out of my window and saw your cattle in my field. I took your cattle and drove them over to your house, and put them in the barn, and fixed the gate. If I catch them there again, I will do the same thing."
The man was reportedly so struck with his neighbor’s soft reply that he at once took the horse out of the pound and paid the charges himself.
Perhaps the most difficult commands given to us by Jesus and his apostles involve our attitude toward those who are our enemies. It is hard to restrain ourselves when we have been mistreated or when a hateful attitude has been shown toward us. The natural response is to repay evil for evil.
But we will only be able to make an impact on the world around us if, by following the example of Jesus Christ, we are willing to repay good for evil.
Dear Lord we pray today that we would not get wrapped up in the evil of the world. We pray that we would be able to show the good in our actions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.