Overcoming Evil With Good: Because It Works

When someone hurts you, the natural instinctive reaction is to hurt back. I fathom the reason for such being because persons like to feel equal with one another; thus, when some harms you mentally or physically, the natural reaction is to “take back” from the other person. However, this is not the way.

In Jay Adams booklet How to Overcome Evil, an outline is provided taken from Romans 12:14-21, that I wanted to share:

  1. God expects counselees to overcome evil (vs. 21)
    1. Not only to be undefeated (do not overcome with evil)
    2. But also to defeat evil (overcome evil with good)
  2. God expects these battles to be fought and won His way: with good
    1. Evil is a popgun; good is an atomic weapon. God will not allow the use of weak weapons.
    2.  When persecuted, the counselee is to bless, not curse (vs. 14)
      1. Blessing=asking God to do good for another and saying good things to him yourself
      2. Cursing=asking God to damn him and saying evil things to him yourself.
    3. Do concrete good toward an enemy (v. 20)
      1. By giving him something to eat, a drink, or whatever will meet his needs
      2. The counselee does this out of love for God, whether he feels like it or not
    4. Counseless must never pay back evil for evil (vs. 17)
      1. Love does not retaliate
        1. Fools do do this (Prov. 26: 4,5), and thus only spread more evil
        2. And become like the fool who did evil to begin with
      2. Instead, respect (literally, plan) what is fine in the sight of all
        1. You won’t do good otherwise; you must prepare for the crisis ahead of time
        2. By hard work, much thought, and prayer
        3. Plan do it with finesse.
      3. Counselees must seek peace with everyone (vs. 18) — believers and unbelievers
        1. Although it is not always possible to achieve
        2. Nevertheless, they must act responsibly so that they do everything they can to see that peace is secure; any failure must be on their side of the relationship
      4. That means that counselees
        1. Must not provoke trouble;
        2. Must not protract (widen, extend) trouble (cf. Prov. 15:1)
        3. Must snot prolong trouble (Eph, 4:26; Matt. 5:23,24; Luke 18:15)
      5. Counselees must never take revenge (vs. 19)
        1. God Himself will avenge
          1. That is His job; He has not allowed us to do it
          2. So step aside and make room for God to step in when and how He pleases.
        2. He promises to repay.
          1. Perhaps in His Son, who suffered for the sins of those who believe
          2. In eternal wrap upon those who will refuse to believe (II Thess. 1:6-8)
          3. And in His own fatherly ways even with believers (I Thess. 4:6)
      6. Counselees are to subdue enemies by their expression of love
        1. They are to heap coals upon their heads
          1. Picture shoveling hot coals over a hillside on top an enemy’s head
          2. Rough warfare ((equivalent of modern flame thrower) successfully subdues him.
        2. God’s own method for subduing His enemies: Roman 2:4; 5:8, 10
        3. The way a Christian wife is instructed to win her unsaved husband. (I Peter 3:1)

Naturally, this outline was made for counselors in general, but outlines a contrary way of returning evil with good out of love for God (agape), which is how that love is spread forward.

Naturally, I do not believe this scenario works in all situations such as self-defense or being in a toxic relationship or otherwise, but if you really care about someone or something, there is an alternative way. Never forget that the defining line of good and evil can often be inordinately complex to discern.

Why do I strive for this way?

Because it works. 

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