“Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”
evil for evil
“Evil” is anything that is base or evil in character.
God does not want us to return insult for insult. Personal revenge is not in God’s plan for the believer:
Prov. 20: 22 “Do not say, “I will recompense evil”;
Wait for the Lord, and He will save you.”
Lk. 6: 27“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
Rom. 12: 17 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20Therefore
‘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.’
21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
I Th. 5: 15 “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.”
“For” carries the idea of means — in exchange for. Christians are not to give back an evil in exchange for an evil. Retaliation is not proper Christian methodology to resolve broken relationships.
PRINCIPLE: Tit for tat is an immature approach to dealing with life.
APPLICATION: Tit for tat is an immature approach to dealing with life. A quick retort satisfies our surface emotion at the moment but does not deal with the essence of the problem.
It is natural to return evil for evil. It is the easy response: “I’ll get even with you if its the last thing I do.” Yes, it may be the last thing we do.
Retaliation makes two evils instead of one and may makes it worse. If we have a streak of retaliation in us, we need another perspective on Christianity. If we use recrimination as our method of dealing with problem people, we do not operate on God’s methodology for dealing with jerks. We operate out of a sour soul.
An evil is an evil in the sight of God no matter what reason we may give for it. It is a big order to operate in maturity. It is easy to be nice to people who are nice to us. We can freely shake hands with people who are friendly to us. It is much more difficult to shake hands with people you know knife you in the back verbally.
If we render evil for evil this makes us no different from the non-Christian. If we render good for good that is man-like. If we render good for evil that is Christ-like, and rare. If we want to evaluate the progress of our spirituality, try putting on good for evil for size.
What is your attitude toward people who criticize you? Can you still smile at them? Do you pray for them? Can you treat them as nicely as you treat your friends? When we do this we operate in true spirituality.