Author: Ron Graham
A most common attitude is "payback". The way to deal with your enemies (real or perceived) is to bash, abuse, sue, and slander them, to avenge the evil they have done to you. This is not the Christian way.
The Christian has three things to remember, and live by, with regard to enemies, and we find these in Romans 12:17-21. Let's think about these principles one at a time...
1 As far as possible we should live in peace (verse 18)
- "Seek peace and pursue it" (1Peter 3:8-18).
- Note example of Jesus "When reviled, he did not revile in return" (1Peter 2:21-24).
- Jesus had mighty strength at his command (Matthew 26:53).
- He chose instead the path of non-violence "as a lamb that is led to the slaughter" (Isaiah 53:7).
2 Vengeance belongs to God — Leave room (verse 19)
- "Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord" (Deuteronomy 32:35,41).
- "The Lord is the avenger of all" (1Thessalonians 4:6).
- "Why not rather be wronged?" (1Corinthians 6:7).
3 Good is the Proper Repayment of Evil (verses 20-21)
- To "overcome evil" is our aim, not to avenge evil.
- Only good can overcome evil. Evil cannot overcome itself.
- You can fight fire with fire, but not evil with evil.
- Don’t say, "Let us do evil that good may come"? (Romans 3:8).
- Incidental point: Don't confuse vengeance with discipline which may involve punishment for correction. Proper discipline is good. (Hebrews 12:11).
- The Old law said,"Eye for eye, tooth for tooth" (Exodus 21:24).
- How Jesus changed this (Matthew 5:38-42).
- Jesus says,"Love your enemies" (Matthew 5:43-48).
- Story of David and Saul (1Samuel 24).