Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
It is very tempting to retaliate when someone does something wrong against us. As children, we were taught to defend ourselves. Although I agree, some actions go beyond defense and turn into retaliation, with a side dish of evilness. Jesus made it clear that in the last days, the love of people is going to fade away, and when we turn on the evening news those words hold true. As Christians, we are to hate evil and cling to good, but how do you respond when evil is done against you?
In verses 17-21, these commands relate mainly to interactions with unbelievers, Paul said, “Repay no one evil for evil.” I know it is hard not to spread a rumor on someone after they attempted to damage your character with a rumor started against you. I understand it is very tempting to place trash in your neighbor’s yard, after they kicked some in yours first. As much as we would like to, we have to refrain from giving back evil when it has been given to us. It is hard for a Christian to hate evil while actively using it as a method of exchange with others.
The way we should respond is by giving thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. In other words, we should think before we act and do the noble and right thing. Instead of spreading that rumor, speak kindly of that person or pray for them. Rather than getting into a trash war, let them see you dispose of the trash in your container that they placed in your yard. What Paul wanted to make clear is that when we behave in such a manner, no one can truthfully claim that we have done something wrong. If we repay evil for evil, how can the world tell the difference between Christians and non-believers? Next time evil is done to you think before you act.
Shad E. Comeaux lives in the Houston area with his wife Carranda. He is the author/founder of the Daily Inspiration Email Ministry and is the devotional editor for Brothaonline.com. An ordained elder he attends the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, under the leadership of Dr. D.Z. Cofield.