Overcome Evil With Good

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21(NKJV)

In our last devotional, Vengeance Is Not Ours, we learned we are never to take justice into our own hands—this belongs to God alone.  

Q: So if we can’t seek revenge with those who afflict us, what are we to do?

According to God’s word, we are to overcome evil with good, and we do this through love. 

Some would say, “It’s hard enough not to pay back evil for evil, and to let God deal with these offenses, but to return love to others for their selfish evil acts is a bit much.”

And yet this is exactly what the Apostle Paul is telling us to do, when He exhorts us to overcome evil with good. Paul gives a practical example by quoting Proverbs 25:21-22 which says, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

Q: So what does giving our enemies something to drink or eat have to do with heaping coals of fire on their head?

When we choose to overcome evil with good, we are openly bringing shame upon others for their sin. Let me explain how this works. The phrase used in this Proverb is believed by some to be a reference to an ancient Egyptian custom.  When a person committed an offense against another and they were sorry, they would demonstrate their remorse by publicly carrying a pan of hot coals upon their head.  It was synonymous with the burning pain they were experiencing for their sinful actions as they were openly repenting from them. 

So, as Christians, when we let God’s love flow through us like water does through a garden hose, we are exposing the evil for what it is.  At the same time, we are quenching our own desire to burn with anger and retaliate.  This happens as we couple together with God through prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us in meeting the needs of the person who is attacking us.  As we do this, they will see God’s love up close and personal.  It is through these types of selfless acts of love that people begin to desire to know God in a personal way—it is our kindness leading them to repentance.

We need to be careful, because if we are not obedient to do this duty to our enemies, we can lose more than just an opportunity to share Christ with them—we can fall back into the fleshly patterns of sinfully judging others and harboring anger, resentment, and bitterness within our hearts—and this is far more damaging to our Christian walk than the original act done against us.  

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:12-13 (NKJV)

STUDY QUESTION: What are we told to do to our enemies according to the Scriptures contained within this devotional?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you willing to allow God’s love to overcome any evil you may face?   

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Seek the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to guide you in your actions.   

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Father, thank You for empowering me to do Your will.  Guide me in Your truth today. Give me the ability to be a blessing to others, and to do good when others do evil against me.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…


Be Blessed, Pastor Scott





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