Do Not be Overcome by Evil, but Overcome Evil with Good
How can we put into practice the love that Christ has shown to us? How can we learn to live peacefully with others even when they harm or insult us?
1. Bless your enemies
a. Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
b. It is almost impossible to hate someone you are praying for.
c. By praying for others and desiring their good, God changes our heart.
2. Do not take revenge, instead forgive
a. Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
b. When we dwell on what someone has done to us, it poisons us and not them.
c. But forgiveness is setting our heart on desiring their good and letting go of what has happened.
3. Do not avoid them
a. Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
b. Avoiding someone, removing our friendship, is a form of punishment and revenge.
c. When we avoid someone, or shut them out of our lives, we will never learn anything from them, and they can never learn anything from us. Neither of us will ever be made better by the other.
d. It ends all chances of the relationship being restored.
4. Desire good for their lives
a. Romans 12:17 Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
b. We may not know what causes someone else to act a certain way, they may have things happening in their lives that are challenging and disruptive.
c. Our goal is to desire their good, to hope for their success, and to help them in any way we can.
5. Oppose them humbly
a. Romans 12:20 If your enemy is hungry feed them. If they are thirsty give them something to drink. Pour burning coals on their head.
b. The only loving way to change someone’s heart is to oppose them in humility.
c. Return evil with kindness, shower them with goodness and love.
d. Seek to build a relationship out of humility and then you will have won them over to change their lives for good.
e. Proverbs 25:11 – A gentle word can break a bone.
How can we do this? We must have a breathtaking and intimate view of our God and of what he has done for us. We must know Jesus and see him for who he is.
The only thing that will change a servant who acts like a king is to get to know a King who acts like a servant. The rightful Judge of all the earth allowed himself to be judged. Realizing what he has done for us can change our hearts, it can soften our ego and humble our pride. When we see Jesus giving himself for us, and also for others, our perspective and behavior will be changed.