How Do You Overcome Evil With Good?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

We are commanded to overcome evil with God, but how do we do that? What’s that look like in life?

Overwhelming Evil

“… the flood came and swept them all away.”

We are commanded to overcome evil with God, but how do we do that? What’s that look like in life? The Genesis’ account of the great flood in Noah’s day tells us much about what the world is like today. Jesus said as much in the Olivet Prophecy, saying, “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark” (Matt 24:37-38). In other words, it was business as usual and most scoffed at any “second coming” of Jesus. The Apostle Peter wrote “that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires” (2 Pet 3:3). Just like in Noah’s day, the lost will be unprepared for God’s judgment Just as they are at Jesus’ return (Rev 1:7), and “they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt 24:39).

Growing Evil

Jesus often referred to Noah’s day in prophesying about the sudden judgment of God that is to come; coming when no one expects it. Today, it’s nearly the same situation. People have been warned of God’s coming judgment on sinners, but most still ignore that. And it was so violent in Noah’s day that God decided to destroy mankind, save Noah’s family. Today, it’s easy to see that the world has grown exponentially more evil and is getting even worse, day by day. It was just like that in Noah’s day when “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5). It is strikingly similar to today’s global violence. In Noah’s day, “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence” (Gen 6:11), just as it is today. The Lord still sees all the violence on earth and it’s just like in Noah’s day where “it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Gen 6:12). Again, this is very much like our world today. Right now, God’s wrath is pounding against His dam of mercy and grace, but someday, perhaps soon, the judgment of God will come crashing down upon all the unrepentant.

Overcoming Evil

Never avenge yourselves.

The Apostle Paul writes, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:1). How can we overcome evil? We can overcome evil with doing good to those who do evil against us. It’s just that simple to say, but it’s not at all simple to live out. To start with, we must “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (Rom 12:17). If we repay evil with evil, we are no better than they are. If it is humanly possible, we must “live peaceably with all” (Rom 12:18a). To not repay evil for evil means we “never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom 12:19). Payback is for God, not for us. God’s judgment throne is a one-seater! Another way to overcome evil with God is when “your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head” (Rom 12:20).

Loving Your Enemies

Parables of Jesus

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.

Any judgments of people starts in the house of God, or the church and with the children of God and not outside the church (1 Pet 4:17). We are not to judge the world. God will, so Jesus would not have us be judge, jury, and executioner. He wants us to leave this up to God, but what do we do when we’ve been hurt, insulted, and abused? In short, we are to love them! Jesus took it further, saying we are to “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). Most of us tend to hate those who hate us, curse them that curse us, and do bad to them who do bad to us. We like to pay back evil with evil, but that’s sin. That’s the “golden rule” totally backwards of how it should be. We do not give them what they deserve (God will); we give them what they need (love) as God did to us. He loved us first before we ever loved Him (1 John 4:19), so God made the first move…and so must we in loving people first. Incidentally, love is a true identifying mark of believers to the world (John 13:34-35).

Conclusion

Jesus wants us to overcome evil with good. We do good things for those who hate us; we bless those who might curse us; and we pray for those who are abusing us. We pray for those that they might be saved. Love your enemies and they just might become your friends…or better yet, your brother or sister in Christ. Pray for your enemy’s salvation, for fewer things are more pleasing to God than to pray for those who oppose us and oppose Christ. Remember at one time, we were ungodly, wicked sinners who deserved God’s wrath (Rom 5:6-10), but God acted first and acted in love and quickened us by His Spirit and we were saved (Eph 2:1-5). All of this was done in love…the love of God. God loved us first, even while enemies of His. That’s how you overcome evil with good.

Here is some related reading for you: What Does an Eye For An Eye Mea?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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