Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8-9 KJV)
When I am wronged, I want revenge. I want to snap back at the person who has wronged me. The bible says to forgive (Mark 11:26), but I think I will still battle with feelings of resentment against a person; any excuse to try and validate my wanting to pay back evil for evil. I try and prove ‘my revenge’ will have a greater impact than what appears to be a passive responding which God’s Word suggests. But is the Lord’s command suggesting a passive response?
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
Evil for evil is what this text is clearly saying the Christian is not to respond with. We don’t fight with evil, we aggressively fight with good. Verse 21 of Romans points out our response to sin done to us is to be with good. Simply amazing; this is not passive at all but aggressively attacks your enemy or offender (v20).
You destroy the root of bitterness when you do well to your offender. Listen; this is why Christians in other countries have so much joy and peace when their children and families are killed for their bold profession of Jesus Christ. They respond with good. They run to forgiveness and hug it. They don’t seek to harm because they’ve been hurt. They harm with good. When we allow bitterness to take root, then we have just sought to return evil for evil. No, let us respond only with good; unto all that do evil to us. God bless.
And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we [be] thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for [am] I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them. (Genesis 50:15-21)
Scripture references: 1 Samuel 24:7-8, Proverbs 15:28, Luke 23:34, Acts 7:60, 1 Thessalonians 5:15