Date: Friday, September 27
Scripture: Romans 12:9-21
Verse: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
Retaliation plays a major role in world politics, but it is a large part of our every day lives. Someone cuts us off in traffic, and we want to jump in front of them and do the same. A friend spills a secret, and we are tempted to share something they told us in confidence. Our spouse does something that hurts our feelings and part of us wants to hurt them back. Every time a party retaliates, they think they are setting things right and putting an end to the conflict. Instead, the first party now wants to retaliate for the retaliation. Back and forth it goes until things spiral out of control, and a minor altercation develops into the termination of a relationship. Retaliation is seldom satisfying and never healing.
In Romans 12 Paul, the author, is advising a church how to stay in relationship with one another, even when they are getting on one another’s nerves. His advice is to love one another and to hate what is evil, or as I have heard it said, “Hate the sin. Love the sinner.” Throughout today’s passage we are encouraged to take the high road and stay positive, even in the face of evil. The concluding verse is so telling, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
When we retaliate, stoop down to the level of the evil that is trying to harm us, we are no longer battling evil, we are participating in it. Evil cannot defeat evil. Only good can. If we truly want to overcome evil, we cannot use evil means like inflicting pain in retaliation. We must do it through love.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, give me the strength to be a person who can absorb evil in love. Amen.
Action: Talk with your discipleship group or a good friend about responding to someone who has hurt you. Is it ever ok to retaliate? How do you let someone know they’ve hurt you? When is enough, enough?
And take note as you are watching football this weekend, how often the person retaliating is the one penalized.
Respond: What is an appropriate response when someone has hurt you? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below.
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