Unlimited: Repaying Evil for Evil
Aug 17, 2023 390
Do not repay anyone evil for evil (Romans 12:17a).
It is natural for the fallen human heart to repay evil for evil. In fact, this principle is enshrined within our legal systems, and has been in most civilisations since they started developing systems of law. In Latin, the name for this principle is “lex talionis.” This is the law of revenge or retaliation.
We find this “eye for an eye” principle in the Old Testament, as in Leviticus 24:17–22. It was well-known in the ancient world. However, in the Sermon of the Mount, Jesus taught something radically different. He taught that it was not to be so in the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:38–42).
God doesn’t repay evil for evil, and neither should we.
Where would we be if God repaid evil for evil? But God isn’t like that. He shows compassion, mercy, and love to all alike, as Jesus taught,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? (Matt. 5:43–46.)
Can you recall an experience in your life when you repaid evil for evil? How do you feel about it today? Is there anything you need to make right with someone else?