17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 12:17-21, emphasis added)
The Lord doesn’t want us to use our emotions to get even, to get revenge, or to punish other people! The Bible says that we must not repay evil for evil. When we allow anger (or any other negative emotion) to rule us, it means we’re not allowing the Holy Spirit to direct us so then we inadvertently become a puppet/servant for some being other than our Savior.
Yes, life is full of hurts. Someone may have hurt your feelings; another person perhaps lied to you; you’re skipped over for a promotion or a raise on your job; or maybe you’ve even been abused or disrespected.
The Message version of the Bible says it this way:
“Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” (Rom 12:17-19 MSG, emphases added) God is the judge over humanity. Judgment belongs to God—not us.
Even though a response to these unpleasant things that I mentioned isn’t wrong, did you ever notice that anger doesn’t improve your situation or how you feel? When we’re so angry over something, we may allow ourselves to say things that we can never take back. Another evil that anger can create is that instead of lashing out in anger at the person who actually hurt us, we lash out at other people unfairly. Anger can beget more and more pain.
Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. (Ps 37:1-2) Psalms remind us that God will deal with those who act wickedly or cruelly. God will vindicate us when we obey His word by forgiving and praying for those who hurt us.
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute that you may be sons of your Father in heaven . . . “ (Mt 5:44-45a) Jesus wants us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, and to even pray for those who malevolently use us! He says, then we are children of our heavenly Father. God pours out His grace and blessings upon us as we live obediently to Him by overcoming evil with good.
God’s ways are the only way to overcome evil. (Isa 55:9)