Readings:-Rom 12:21; Eccl 4:9.Paul continues, in a list of commands, to describe what Christians should expect life in Christ to look like. Taken together, Romans 12 is a pretty thorough picture of what it means to follow Christ on this side of eternity.
Paul now comes to what is a difficult command for many people, including Christians. It is absolutely the example Jesus set for us, however. Paul declares that we must resist our natural human instinct for revenge and refuse to ever pay back evil when evil is done to us. This would be true whether the person who hurts us is a believer or not.
Do not be overcome and conquered by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21 AMP
Instead, Paul tells us to be thoughtful when evil is done to us. He seems to suggest we see that moment as an opportunity to demonstrate that, in Christ, we are honorable people. We cannot, after all, display the love and forgiveness of Christ until we have the opportunity to forgive. When we do, we make a powerful statement that we are choosing to live in service to God instead of to ourselves.
The following verses will expand on this idea, including the claim that doing good for one’s enemies is a far more powerful response than attempting petty revenge.
But in Ecclesiastes, Solomon laments the fact that he has played the fool and failed to take his own advice. Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 reads, “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king of Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” Ecclesiastes is a sermon that warns us not to waste our lives on worthless things. And it exhorts us to live godly values, eternal significance, and spiritual priorities. Our text is a part of Solomon’s instructions for living a meaningful life. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Solomon teaches that in order to live a life that counts you must learn to value relationships over possessions. You must value people more than things. You must find joy in fellowship not pleasure. And Solomon makes this point in a simple, clear, and the direct statement: “Two are better than one.”
But the image of the weary competitors persevering together remains ingrained in my mind, affirming the life-empowering truth in Ecclesiastes 4:9–11.
There’s no shame in admitting we require assistance in life (v. 9), especially since we can’t honestly deny our needs or hide them from our all-knowing God. At one time or another, we’ll all fall, whether physically or emotionally. Knowing we’re not alone can comfort us as we persevere. As our loving Father helps us, He empowers us to reach out to others in need, affirming they too aren’t alone.
How has someone helped you? How can you encourage others this week?
All-powerful God, please give me the strength and humility to fight against evil. Help me to overcome evil by doing good.
Thank You for reassuring us of Your constant presence as You help us and give us opportunities to reach out and help others in Jesus’ Name.