“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone? Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will hear burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing well.” Romans 12:17-21
Jesus tells us to love our enemies, but this can be the hardest thing that we can do. I know in my case, I just don’t like to love people that are always causing trouble. I want to get even with them, but God has other plans. When I have the feeling of revenge, God reminds me that I need to pray for them. When I pray for them my attitude changes. We need to remember that Jesus came and died for us when we were His enemies. This is God’s great love for us and we need to show it to our enemies.
As Christians, we are called to overcome in this world, but to overcome we must master evil. To do this, we must hate sin and cling to what is good. Throughout this entire chapter Paul gives us insight on overcoming evil. First we have to renew our minds to the word of God being transformed into his likeness. Secondly, our gifts must be in operation in the body of Christ, to which we were called to belong. Next we must love sincerely without hypocrisy, devoted to one another. We are to keep ourselves zealous for the Lord, joyful, patient and faithful. These things will keep our focus on God and off our circumstances. Looking to Him will allow His characteristics to daily flow out of our lives overcoming and mastering sin.
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.” (Matthew 5:43-46)