Friday, June 25, 2010

The Proverbs: Overcoming Evil - June 25, 2010

Proverbs 25:21-22 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
21If your enemy is hungry, give him some food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him some water to drink. 22In this way you will make him feel guilty and ashamed, and the Lord will reward you.

Matthew 5:38-39,43-44 (New Living Translation)
38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

Luke 6:31 (New International Reader's Version)
31 Do to others as you want them to do to you.

Romans 12:17-18,21 (New International Reader's Version)
17 Don't pay back evil with evil. Be careful to do what everyone thinks is right. 18 If possible, live in peace with everyone. Do that as much as you can.
21 Don't let evil overcome you. Overcome evil by doing good.

We truly live in a vengeful society. If someone wrongs us, it is deep within our culture that we have to pay that person back. Fortunately in our country the way we pay people back for a wrong they have done usually involves words more than actions. There are other societies in the world where "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" is taken all too literally. Nevertheless, much more harm than good is done when we take retribution and vengeance into our own hands.

When it comes to paying back a wrong that has been done to us, God's way is completely opposite from the world's way. God would have us return any evil done to us with good, which is the most difficult way to handle things. We can't do this with our own abilities; it takes God's help, through the Holy Spirit for this to be possible. There is a purpose to all of this, which is that God desires that those who do evil be brought to reconiliation with Him, through the witness of the good actions of those who have been wronged.

The ultimate witness of returning evil for good was the example of Jesus Christ himself. In his gift to us of returning our evil and sin with his personal death on the cross, Jesus gives us the example to follow. If we commit ourselves, with God's help, to always return a wrong for good and leaving vengeance to God, we will not only leave a better place to live and work, but we will find true blessings that only come from following Christ's example.

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