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Overcome Evil with Good

Romans 12:21

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Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:21 NIV

Do not be overcome by evil! You might look at this statement and understand it to mean that we should not allow the evil in this world to defeat us. And while that is true, it is not what Paul refers to here. Romans 12:17 tells us not to repay evil with evil. And that is what this verse is referring to. Don’t be overcome by my own evil response to other people. Responding negatively when someone does something I don’t care for is tempting. But, when I do, I have been overcome by evil.

Instead, Paul tells us, overcome evil with good. Don’t allow evil to rule in my life. Even when I think someone may deserve my negative response to them, choose instead to respond positively. If your enemy is hungry or thirsty, rather than be happy about their condition, give them something to eat or drink. When you do, you have defeated the evil impulse in your own life. And you may well find that you have lost an enemy.

As a simple example, I have neighbors on one side of me that have nothing to do with any of their neighbors. They will not even respond to a greeting. They leave their trashcans in the middle of the sidewalk long after the trash has been picked up. And, when I walk around them, I am tempted to move the cans into a place that is inconvenient for them, like behind a car in the driveway. But, in doing so, I would be overcome by evil. It would be better to move their cans to where they belong and overcome the evil within me with good.

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

2 thoughts on “Overcome Evil with Good – Romans 12:21”

  1. Thank you for the overcome evil with good post! This is so true, I have neighbors who constantly do things to annoy everyone around them, leaving trash cans out, placing items immediately next to or over property lines, throwing garbage everywhere…it is extremely tempting to retaliate, but I try to remember that is not what Jesus wants of us, it helps to know that you share this struggle and overcome the temptation. It certainly is not the easy choice…but God helps me as I ask Him to daily!

    • I am glad you found it helpful.

      It is still something that I have to deal with frequently. It takes an effort of the will each time to do what I should.


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