Paul Tripp’s Wednesday email last week was on a great topic…what it means to return good for evil (Romans 12:14ff) and a particular example from his own life where it bore the fruit we all hope for in such an instance. It’s a great read:
We lived in a twin house, with our landlady living in the attached home with her adult daughter. For reasons we couldn’t understand, the daughter began to get mad at us. She would yell and curse at our children. She would play her stereo very loudly late at night, waking our children. She did everything she could to make our lives miserable. We didn’t understand what was happening and everything we tried to do to make things better only made things worse.
Read the rest here.
One of my favorite books is Jay Adams’ How to Overcome Evil which is on this same topic, giving great practical application for that second half of Romans 12 where Paul walks through principles of how to respond when others make your life difficult. Here’s the passage:
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It’s counter-intuitive, overcoming evil by means of doing good (feeding your enemy, for example), but that’s God’s upside down way to victory. If you’ve got someone difficult in your life that you’re struggling with, take some time to meditate on this passage and how God would have you respond to cursing with blessing.