#113: Do Not Be Overcome by Evil but Overcome Evil with Good

Raise your hand if you have you ever been hurt by someone. Perhaps a relative, close friend or a co-worker did you wrong. Did it make your blood boil, or tie your gut into knots? Did you lie awake at night tossing and turning plotting your revenge?

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

If so, you’re in good company with most of the human race over 2 years old. If you are like me, you’ve been hurt by someone in ways that you never expected! Perhaps more than once!

What do you do? How do you respond? When I was a good bit younger and before I accepted Christ the answer was simple, plot my revenge. Yes, sweet revenge.

As I got a little older, and somewhat more mature, I realized we have three options when responding to someone who has done us wrong.

Nabal’s Evil and Abigail’s Good

As I was studying 1 Samuel 25 recently, I came across the somewhat familiar story of David and his encounter with Nabal and Abigail. But this time as I read, I saw something that I never noticed before; in this story are three options for how we can respond when someone has wronged us.

Let me set the scene.

David and 600 men with their families (some 2,400 people) had been on the run hiding from Saul for some time because Saul had vowed to kill David. The area they were in was plagued by invading armies and robbers. David and his army of 600 protected the people living in that part of the country.

David came to the area where Nabal, a very rich man lived. David sent men to inquire of Nabal for some provision for his men in return for their having protected Nabal and his property. Nabal’s response was both arrogant and insulting.

When David heard it, he vowed to kill Nabal. When Abigail, Nabal’s wife, heard how her husband had treated David’s men she gathered a food offering together, took it to David, and implored him not to kill Nabal and bring bloodguilt on himself. David relented and vowed not to kill Nabal because of the kindness Abigail had shown him.

Three Possible Responses

  • We can return evil for good as Nabal did when he refused to return David’s kindness.
  • We can return evil for evil as David considered when he swore to kill Nabal.
  • Or, we can return evil with good as David ultimately did when he accepted Abigail’s offering and apology for her husband.

Do Not Be Overcome by Evil but Overcome Evil with Good

If you wonder which of the three responses is the one scripture supports, focus on option 3, “Do Not Be Overcome by Evil but Overcome Evil with Good.”

Evil contaminates others. When you pay back good with evil it contaminates others. When evil exists it tends to grow in a family, a society, or a company. It becomes acceptable to be evil to those who are good.

Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good. Proverbs 17:13

Consider what is honorable. As Christians, we should be careful not to act in haste, but to carefully consider what course of action is honorable. We should always focus on doing what brings honor to our Lord and Savior.

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. Romans 12:17

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

Repay evil with blessing. As Christians, we should not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. Rather, our example should be to repay evil with a blessing, because this is what we are called to do as Christians, and in so doing we will receive a blessing.

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have there been times in your personal or business life when someone hurt you, wronged you? How did you respond? What was the result?

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Category: Personal Development | Discipline

 

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4 thoughts on “#113: Do Not Be Overcome by Evil but Overcome Evil with Good

  1. I think a lot times, when there is conflict there is uncertainty about how to handle it, whats the best way to proceed? Of course, I have been hurt in my life as almost everyone else has. I also think that being accountable and taking responsibility is the best way to resolution and forgiveness. But that doesn’t always happen. However, overcoming evil with good is what God calls us to, and it results in the most neutral and positive outcomes.

  2. What comes to mind after reading your post is Luke 6:27-31.

    “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (NIV)

    As Christians, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. Even if our neighbors are mean and hateful, we still must love and care about them because God has loved us first. Jesus had died on the cross to cleanse humanity of our sin, enduring the most unbearable pain at human hands. Humanity has done nothing to deserve forgiveness and redemption; in fact, they could be considered Jesus’s worst enemies. It would be insanity to go so far as to die for an enemy even after they have caused excruciating pain. Even so, Jesus forgave those who harmed him and loved them. If Jesus can love his enemies, so can Christians.

  3. Ah yes, revenge. When others do us wrong the temptation is strong to return the favor. As a boy a buddy of mine invited another of his friends to his birthday movie outing. When my birthday came around I was determined to exclude my buddy. But my father encouraged me to include my buddy. Not to show him I was the bigger person, but simply because he was my friend. I did so and we had a great time.

  4. Ron,
    Interestingly, I just read that same scripture. I am sure you read that part of David’s life several times in your life before seeing this truth. Thank you for pointing that out.
    I also see this as a lesson in anger management. David did not act immediately but vented his frustration – and a good thing. When we step back and pause for a few moments and not let our emotions (the flesh) take hold, and let the spirit rule, we can circumvent many challenges in our lives. As we all know, battling the flesh is a constant battle.
    I think Ralph Cramden of the Honeymooners does it best when faced with anger; “Pins and needles, needles and pins, a happy man is a man that grins.”
    Peace on Your Journey,
    Chris