Don’t Pay Evil Back for Evil!

Recompense to no man evil for evil….Romans 12:17

Today’s Sparkling Gem will be short, but pay close attention, because it’s a very important one!

Most all of us have thought at one time or another, Oh, how I want to get back at that person for what he did to me! If you have had that thought in the past, or if you’ve been thinking such thoughts recently, then what we’re going to talk about today should be very helpful to you!

In Romans 12:17, the apostle Paul told us, “Recompense to no man evil for evil….” The word “recompense” in this verse is the Greek word apodidomi, and it literally means to give back or to pay back. It carries the idea of returning something to someone. It is a compound of the words apo, which means back, as to return back, and the word didomi, which means to give. When compounded together, the new word gives the impression of someone who wishes to retaliate, to get even, or to take revenge. This person wants to pay someone back for what the other person did by doing the same thing to him; in other words, he wants to get even with the one who wronged him. In the Greek text, there is a negative in the verse, which means this action is strongly prohibited. Paul is ordering us not to do this!

Romans 12:17 goes on to say, “Recompense to no man evil for evil….” The word “evil” is the Greek word kakos. It describes an action that is harmful, hurtful, or injurious or something done with an evil intent. These are the actions of a person who intentionally acts to cause some kind of damage or ruin in someone else’s life. But the Greek literally says kakon anti kakou, which means evil for evil. It is the idea of a person who thinks, You did wrong to me, so now I’m going to do wrong to you. I’m going to do to you exactly what you did to me. This is what the phrase “evil for evil” means in this verse.

A fuller interpretation of Romans 12:17 could read:

“Don’t get even with people by retaliating and taking revenge. You should never get into the business of intentionally trying to hurt someone just because they hurt you.”

The flesh loves to retaliate against those who have wronged us, but this is not the way Jesus teaches us to behave. Instead of retaliating, we must seek to walk in peace and to have pure hearts before God. It is impossible for us to be pure before God while we are at the same time devising mischief for those who have wronged us. We have to stay out of the mischief business and leave our offenders in the hands of God.

During the holiday season, people frequently get their feelings hurt, misunderstand each other, or simply get their wires crossed because there are so many people to deal with and so much to do. Stress is definitely a factor during this season, often adversely affecting relationships and changing the way people perceive situations.

So if you get upset about something that happens, don’t give in to your emotions and end up in a fight. Rather than letting yourself get all stirred up or allowing yourself to imagine how you can get even with the person who has wronged you, get alone with the Lord and let Him fill your heart with peace. Once His peace is ruling in your heart, you’ll see the situation from an entirely different perspective. Even if someone really did wrong you, God’s peace will enable you to have a positive attitude toward that person. Meanwhile, you’ll be able to walk on in peace with a pure heart before God, free from all bitterness, anger, and strife!

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My Prayer for Today

Lord, I thank You for encouraging me to keep my heart free of strife during this extremely busy time of the year. There is so much to do, so many places I have to be, and so many people I need to see. I admit that the demands of this time of year put a lot of stress and strain on me. In the middle of all these activities, I don’t want the devil to get the best of me, so I am asking You to fill me with Your peace. Let that divine peace rule me and my emotions so I don’t let Satan get the upper hand in any of my relationships during this special time of year.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

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My Confession for Today

I confess that I am free of strain and stress. My heart is filled with the peace of God, and that wonderful peace is ruling my heart, my mind, and my emotions. I am not quickly angered or offended. I walk in patience and kindness, and I am quick to forgive and to overlook the inappropriate actions of other people. Because God’s peace is ruling in my heart, I will remain calm, peaceful, and undisturbed by anything that happens around me during this very busy holiday season.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

sparking gems from the greek

Questions to Answer

1. By knowing what has happened in the past, are you now able to recognize the people or the circumstances that the devil uses to trigger your emotions and get you upset?

2. If your answer is yes, has the Holy Spirit shown you how to circumvent those moments so the devil can no longer ruffle your feathers and cause you to lose your peace? If your answer is no, have you asked the Holy Spirit to teach you to recognize those moments so they won’t be repeated in your life?

3. When you are tempted to be upset, what helps you the most to be filled with the peace of God? Is it reading the Word for a few minutes, praying, or listening to praise and worship music?