Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 12:21
“Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12-21
This verse lays out one of the more important attributes of Christianity; that being love. And not just love in return for love, but love for all, no matter what. There are many times when people will attack us, both physically and verbally. Paul said a couple verses up, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.” Romans 12:17. We must always do what is right in the sight of God and not simply acceptable in the eyes of men. We must never take into our own hands any recompense for evil.
Paul goes on to say, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Roman 12:18. Our goal throughout our lives should be peace with all. No matter what people do to us, we should show love for them. Our positive reaction to attacks may be the very light that brings our attacker to Christ. Remember, Jesus said the following, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
Furthermore, it is not our place to give recompense. “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.” Romans 12:19. We must stand aside and let God handle it. Moreover, we are to go to the opposite extreme. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap hot coals on his head.” We are to return kindness for evil. Jesus once said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” Matthew 5:38-39 He also said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:43-44.
Now with this foundation laid, let’s go back to the focus verse. We must never let the evil of another cause us to return evil to them. We must never let evil take control of us but on the contrary, we must overcome evil with good. We must let our good deeds vanquish the evil in another. Many times, by simply showing someone love, they will stop the evil they are doing to us. They normally expect you to respond with hatred, which will only feed their anger and make it stronger. We must not let their actions win the battle. We must strive to be a witness of the love of God to them.
I know firsthand this is not easy. However, we have a God that walks with us, who never leaves or forsakes us, and works through us to do His good pleasure. We just need to submit fully and let Him give us the strength. I have been amazed by how good does overcome evil. Who knows what impact we can have on another, simply by submitting to God and humbling ourselves.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.