“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”Romans 12:17-21
I once attended a movie with my new bride. After the movie ended and we made our way outside, Rebekah remembered she had left her phone in the theater. We went back inside and asked several attendants if anyone had found a phone—in those days they were bulky and easy to notice. The attendants showed no interest whatsoever, and at that point we knew the phone was lost for good. I will always believe one of them took the phone but what can you do? We still owed six months on our phone plan, and I was not a happy camper. In fact, I was angry with Rebekah and communicated my disapproval in a rather animated way. She was sad and hurt. Although I knew I needed to make it right, I let it fester far too long.
Two weeks later I lost my wallet after eating dinner, and I looked everywhere to find it but was unsuccessful. I tried to keep it quiet but eventually had to tell Rebekah. I expected her to rip into me just as I had done to her. Instead, she began helping me search for it. I felt like such a scum bag as I had not exactly reacted in the same way Rebekah had reacted. She had compassion on me whereas I held it over her head and was mad.
I wish I could say this ended my wicked ways, but there are plenty of other stories in my file of ashamed responses. Numerous instances come to mind in which I acted in an ungodly way and contrary to Romans 12. I have met evil with evil and have sought revenge for the wrong committed against me. At those times, I never thought to pray or to ask God how He wanted me to respond. I was more concerned about my rights then I was about obedience. I was consumed with exacting revenge, and I would not dare give my enemy anything good. My heart was filled with evil intentions, making me no better than those I sought revenge against.
How about you friend? Are you consumed with getting even with those who have wronged you? Do you desire to overcome evil with good? How would your enemies describe you? Are you known as a vengeful person or do others see you as having compassion? Do you desire to live peaceably with everyone or are you the common denominator in most of your problems? May our actions reveal the heart of our Savior, and may we be apt to always overcome evil with good.