Pay Back Evil With Good
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The horn on your car is amoral—like the tongue, a weapon, or money, it is dependent on its owner to be used for good or bad. The auto horn has become a tool of road rage in our culture, long blasts signaling our disapproval of another driver’s actions. And maybe that driver’s actions were wrong. But Scripture exhorts us to overcome evil (wrongs) with good (patience, understanding) rather than with evil (anger, retaliation).
In the Old Testament, burning coals were a symbol of judgment (Psalm 11:6; 140:10). But there are gentle ways to “pass judgment” that have better outcomes as illustrated in Proverbs: harsh words stir up anger, gentle words turn away anger (15:1); a gentle word can break a bone (25:15). For that reason, Solomon advised treating enemies kindly (25:21) as a way to “heap coals of fire on his head” (25:22)—advice repeated by the apostle Paul (Romans 12:20).
Paying back evil with evil is out. So, when you feel tempted, ask God to show you something good you can do for another person. It is possible to overcome evil with good. That’s how God overcomes our sin every day—with love and goodness.
Injuries cost more to avenge than to bear.