Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. — Romans 12: 21
We cannot conquer evil through retribution, but rather by countering it with good. There is a great deal of evil in the world. No one would argue that. However, evil not only comprises those things which can be clearly recognised as destructive forces, but also some very general influences and attitudes that are likewise contrary to God’s will. There is a very real danger that we might also be infected by these things. However, let us not allow ourselves to be infected by evil, and let us not take a neutral attitude toward it either. Let us instead counter evil with good. This Bible text can thus be interpreted as follows in our modern understanding: Do not let evil into your heart, but rather counter it with godliness.
After remarking on the relationship between the law and the gospel as well as on the enduring election of Israel (Romans 1–11), Paul provides instructions for Christian living (Romans 12: 1–15; 13). Paul begins his line of reasoning with the words: “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men” (Romans 12: 17).
Those who repay evil with evil can be overcome by evil. Let us confront evil by countering it with good. Let us counter:
- Mobbing and bullying with conversation that integrates everyone.
- Egoism by turning to our neighbour in love.
- The lack of perspective in others with our hope for the future.