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An Unusual Repayment

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. Rom. 12:17(NKJV)

The apostle Paul exhorted all believers to, Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”  He then comes back three verses later and commands us to, Repay no one evil for evil” (Rom 12:17).  

Q: So if we are told to bless those who persecute us, then why are we told to repay no one evil for evil—wouldn’t our blessing them take care of this?

The difference here in verse 17 is that we are specifically told when it comes to those who are coming after us with the intention of doing us harm, we are not to repay them with the same type of evil they are inflicting upon us.  

First of all, every form of evil is from the enemy, and to use it would be to submit to the enemy’s will for our life rather than God’s will.  And it would mean we are using the enemy’s tactics to defend ourselves.  

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9 (NKJV)

Q: What about the Old Testament rule of an eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth—doesn’t this allow us to pay back evil for evil?

The Old Testament does specify this law, but it is for imposing proper punishment on the criminal—it was actually instituted so the criminal didn’t get over-punished, in addition to deterring people from doing the crime. 

But again, this Old Testament law was for civil justice only, and was never intended for an individual to use personally for exacting revenge.  Justice is from God, and He uses civil authority to minister this justice (Rom. 13:3-4).  So we are forbidden to personally execute punishment by returning evil for evil. The apostle Paul spoke these very principles to the Thessalonians.

See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NKJV)

I want to encourage you today. Choose to think about these principles and to meditate upon them so you will be able to act properly when someone afflicts you.  It might be an unusual repayment to someone’s evil actions, but it’s God’s will for you to bless those who persecute you and not return evil for evil, and this will only be possible when you purpose in your heart to do this.  

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn about exacting revenge on our enemies by the Scriptures contained within this devotional?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you find you want to repay those who afflict you with an equal type of action?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Purpose in your heart to do what God has commanded you to do.  Seek His power and ability to follow through with this commitment.  

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Father, thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for giving me the ability to do all of the things You have asked of me.  I pray You would empower me today, to be the person You have called me to be.  Give me wisdom, discernment, and an agape love for those who mean harm to me. In Jesus’ precious name, amen…


May the Lord bless your day abundantly, Scott




Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000