Overcoming Evil With Good

Overcoming Evil With Good

By Henry Nelson

 

 

 

Romans 12:2121”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”Christianity revolutionized the world because its teachings are so radically different than anything offered by this world’s other religions and philosophies. There is no better illustration of this than what it has to say regarding how to treat those who are against you to those who do not like you to those who abuse you.Today, I would like for you to review what the Scriptures teach about how you are to deal with difficult people. How you are to treat people who treat you badly. {{more}}Whether you are a young boy or girl or whether a teenager or whether you are an adult, the things we learn today are very important. If you follow what God tells us, you will be happier people and make a real difference in this world. And I hope that each of you want to make a real difference in this world for God’s glory. Let’s begin by learning a general principle that applies to every situation where we are dealing with people. We can find this principle taught in many places but we will first look at Romans Chapter 12:17, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.” What does this mean? What this means is that when someone does something bad to us, we are not to do something bad back to them. When someone does something hurtful and mean to us, we are not to do something hurtful and mean back. To do bad to others when they do bad to us is called ’paying back evil for evil’.Verse 21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Here, we find the important second part of our general principle. We are not to do bad things to others when they do bad things to us because if we do, we become just like them. We have allowed them to control what we do. We have allowed their bad behavior to conquer us and make us respond in a bad way. We have been “overcome by evil.”Let me give an example that even young people can understand. In the movie “Star Wars”, the Emperor and Darth Vader are evil. They do bad things. Luke Skywalker is a good person. But, the Emperor and Darth Vader start doing bad things to Luke and his friends. They want Luke to get angry and hateful so that Luke will become just like them evil. They want Luke to join the Dark Side. If Luke let’s the Emperor and Darth Vader make him ‘return evil for evil’, they have beaten Luke. Luke has been “overcome by evil.” Amen!Paul says instead of being “overcome by evil”, you should “overcome evil with good.” That means you do not allow the bad things that people do to us make us do bad but you fight against it by being good. Again, if you remember from Star Wars, Luke Skywalker told the Emperor and Darth Vader that he would not fight them. When the Emperor told Luke to kill his father Darth Vader he refused. Luke’s determination to not behave badly when he was treated badly had a deep impact upon Darth Vader. It caused Darth Vader to change and decide to be good. Luke “overcame evil with good.” A Christian is to be a Luke Skywalker. You are to overcome evil by refusing to let the bad actions of others make us turn bad or behave badly. You are to overcome the evil of others by acting better than they act.That leads us to our next Scripture. 1st Thessalonians 5:15 says, “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men.” Amen! Paul repeats the principle here but uses a bit different words. He tells us not to repay evil for evil treating others bad when they treat us bad. Instead, he says that we must always seek to treat others good. Whatever would be good for the other person that we must do, even if they have treated us badly.That is not easy! It is not easy to do something good for someone who has been mean to us. It is not easy to do good for someone who has hurt us. It is not easy to do good for someone who hates us. In fact, it can be right down hard. But, that is what is commanded of us as Christians.Do you know what it is called when you treat others good after they treat you bad? It is called love. Not just any kind of love, but a very special love. The most amazing kind of love in the universe is agape love. It is the kind of love that comes from God. God wants us to have it and show it. He wants us to be special. Turn to Luke Chapter 6: 32-33, “And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” Amen!Jesus says if you love only those who love you and do good things for only those who do good things for you, what is so big about that? Even the worse people on Earth do that. Almost everyone loves people that love them back. Almost everyone will be good and nice toward people who are good and nice toward them. But Jesus wants us to be different than most people. He wants us to be special. Luke 6: 27 says, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies.”Amen! Jesus commands us to not just love people who love us. He says we are to love people who are our enemies. He wants us to love those who we know are against us. How?Verse 27 also says, “Do good to those who hate you.”Amen! Do you know someone in your neighborhood who does not like you? Do you know someone at school who does not like you? Do you know someone at work who doesn‘t like you? Do you know someone in the Church who doesn‘t like you? Do you know someone in your own family who doesn’t like you and appreciate you? Do you know of anyone who right down hates you?Our fleshly human nature might tell us to respond this way. “They do not like me so I won’t like them.” “They hate me so I will hate them back.” Or, our human nature might adopt this attitude. “I do not care if they do not like me or if they hate me. I just won’t have anything to do with them.” It is easy to think and feel this way toward those who do not like us or hate us. But, if we think this way or feel this way, we are not being the different the special people that God wants us to be.Jesus says that if we know someone who does not like us or hates us, we are to love them anyway and do good things for them. He actually commands us to sit down and think of something nice that we could do for them. He wants us to do good deeds for them. Do you know someone who does not like you or hates you? This week, be special and do something really nice for them. Luke 6: 28 says, “Bless those who curse you.” Amen! Here is a commandment that is often ignored because it is difficult to put in practice. Have you ever had someone call you bad names? Have you ever had someone say things to make fun of you? Have you ever had someone say mean things to you that really hurt? Have you ever had someone tear you down? Have you ever had someone spread bad things about you things that were not even true? I think that all of us have had that happen to us. It is not very nice when it happens. Jesus calls it being “cursed”. Our human nature tells us how to respond to such painful incidents. If someone calls us names, call them names. If someone makes fun of us, make fun of them right back. If someone says mean hurtful things to us, say mean hurtful things to them. If someone tears us down, tear them down. If someone spreads bad things about you, start telling others bad things about them even if they are not true.This is the easy way of handling people who hurt us by what they say. But, if we follow this path you are no better than them. You are not being the special people that God wants us to be. Jesus says if someone calls us names or makes fun of us, you should say something nice and kind in response. If someone says something that hurts us, you should say something back that would make that person feel good. If someone tears us down, you are to say something encouraging and supportive. Praise them. 1st Peter 3:9 says, “Not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead.” If someone spreads bad things about us, You need to spread good things about them. Amen!Just think how different you would be if you responded in this way. You need to, because it is part of loving our enemies. It is being a Christian. Luke 6:28 says, “Pray for those who mistreat you.” Amen!Finally, have you had someone mistreat you? Have you had someone be nasty toward you? Have you had someone treat you cruelly? Have you ever been bullied by someone? Have you had someone do really mean things to you? Have you had someone make life really hard for you? Have you had someone make you really miserable? It is easy and natural when you are mistreated to want to become angry and bitter toward that person. It is common to want to get back at that person somehow and make them taste a little of their own medicine. But, we have to remember that we do not want to be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. You do not want to think and feel and act the way that others do. You want to be different. Again, you are called to love your enemies. If someone is making life hard for you! If they are mistreating you, Jesus says that we need to pray for them. We need to pray that God would help change their hearts. We need to pray that they would come to understand that they should not behave as they do. We need to ask God to help them change. If you pray for those who mistreat you, it helps you also. It helps you to not become as mean and hateful toward your enemy as they are toward you. It helps us to have the right feelings and see the situation more clearly from God‘s perspective. We are going to close our study, this week, by looking quickly at one more verse. Luke 6:31 says, “And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way.”Everything you have learned is summed-up in this verse. In every situation, you need to treat people the same way that you want them to treat us. Whether they are our friends or our enemies, you treat them the way you want them to treat us.It is easy loving people who love us and it is easy to be good to people who are good to us. But it takes someone special to love people who hate us and to be good to people who are mean and nasty toward us. Being that special someone is being a true Christian. Let’s let our light shine.