Returning good for evil is not a complicated concept; it’s very simple. Yet it is rare. It’s one of the most difficult tasks we ever undertake in life. Let’s be honest. Forgiving an offense is much easier when the guilty person is contrite and has sincerely apologized. But when the offender takes delight in our suffering or personally benefits from our downfall, choosing to treat him or her kindly defies everything we know about justice and fair play. Kindness is a response beyond our natural capability. It will require supernatural strength—and that is precisely what God has promised.
The apostle Paul’s statement—“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21) —could be considered a mission statement for God’s redemption of creation. His ultimate purpose in the world is to rescue the world from evil’s grip, supernaturally transform the world, and then bring it back under the control of His righteousness. In other words, God will overcome the world’s evil with His good. In following the command of Christ to “bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:14; Matthew 5:44) and by returning good for evil, we become “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1), as we become active participants in His work.
If, however, we refuse to join God in His work, if we reject His call to extend grace to our enemies as He does, the daily grind of revenge will continue to siphon our peace, drain our joy, and undermine our love until we do.
From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.