v 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
So here we have it in the New Testament too – same proverb, same thought, same radical lifestyle. This whole chapter in Paul’s letter to the Romans is full of practical advice on living life God’s way. It all begins with the notion of being transformed (v 2) ‘Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. ‘ All the issues of retaliation and revenge begin in our patterns of thinking. This is the thought-change that we call LOVE; we can only rise above the earth-life of retaliation and revenge when we genuinely begin to love others. This is why Paul writes in verses 10-11 ‘Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. …. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.‘
This enables Paul to continue in verse 14 ‘Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. ‘
Holiness of life is so much more than just keeping rules that demand total obedience to God’s law. It is a transformation of thinking so that the selfish ‘I’ is replaced by a loving ‘YOU’. This love overrides revenge and retaliation in our thought patterns.
It is not an automatic change in us; it requires our cooperation in the process, a God-empowered determination to step outside of ‘the behaviour and customs of this world, ‘ and then grasp hold of a new pattern in which we ‘Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.’ (v 18).
And if you think this is all very difficult, you are probably right unless you are walking daily with God and in tune with Him! Allow His power to be at work in you today, and consciously pray that this love attitude will engulf you.