The apostle Paul endured great suffering by many people. In our Wednesday Bible study in 2 Corinthians, we have seen how Paul rehearsed his many struggles.
“Are they servants of Christ? – I speak as if insane – I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-26)
Paul warned Timothy of Alexander the coppersmith and how he had done him much wrong. “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.” (2 Timothy 4:14)
Despite being wronged, Paul did not look to get even with him by doing him harm.
This is the Christian mindset we are to have. We are not to return evil with evil. We are not to try to find ways to get even with people when they hurt us. Consider (Romans 12:17-19). “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Getting even or trying to get even with people who have hurt us will never produce anything good. People can seek retaliation and still not be satisfied or content after they have done so. Additional problems often arise when we seek to get even with others. It will not help Christians to shine their lights. And most importantly, it’s sinful because it goes against the will of God! God is grieved.
This has application in our marriages, our families, and with our brethren in the body of Christ. There’s a better way for Christians to respond. Paul says in (Romans 12:20-21) “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink, for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
A few questions to consider.
- What is your typical response when someone has done something evil towards you?
- Have you ever tried to get even with someone? What happened when you did?
- Do you ever question God’s way of handling problems? If so, why do you think that is the case?
- In what way might you overcome evil with good this week?