I thought this verse was going to be easier. Let me hear what you think.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.*
As a person transformed by Christ, I can say with confidence that I’m not an evil person. So, it should be easy for me to handle this first directive from Paul. I don’t intentionally do evil, yet, when I read the entire seven-word sentence, I have to give it a bit more reflection.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Oh, yes, I see his point. While I might not be going around committing evil acts, I can get pretty testy when someone does me wrong. I think that’s why they call it a “knee-jerk reaction.” That natural man in me is quick to hit back when hit, which makes me look the jerk.
Living the transformed life requires of us pause before reacting to evil. We must be careful.
Easier said than done.
His second sentence shows the reason for the needed pause: because the eyes of everybody are on us.
Yep, that’s right, people are watching — not just the person who did evil to you, but his brother, neighbor, and co-worker, along with your family, fellow believers and friends.
Everybody’s watching if you’ll do the right thing.
What if the right thing looks different for different people? So, but are you really going to go there? No, that’s not what Paul’s saying, because the right thing is always the right thing. Jesus talked about it.
- Love your enemies.
- Pray for those who persecute you.
- Do good to those who hate you.
- Turn the other cheek.
Someone treating you with evil intent? Pause and do good. Everyone’s watching.
Grace and Peace
*Romans 12:17 (NIV)