This is an issue mankind has been addressing since the very beginning: how do we conquer evil? The only proper way to answer this question is with a theistic worldview because it is pointless to define evil with any other worldview. Man could not conquer evil in the garden, Cain could not conquer evil in the field, and David could not conquer it on the rooftop. As many wars have been fought over the centuries, evil still prevails and we have done nothing to completely conquer it. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus taught a radical new way to handle evil.
“‘You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.’” (Matthew 5:38-39)
This was radical 2,000 years ago and it is just as radical today. It is still in our nature to want to get even with people. If they hurt us, we want to hurt them. This is not what Jesus taught at all, and His followers echoed this message throughout their ministries.
“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
“Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” (1 Peter 3:9)
What will happen when we do this? Romans 12:20 says our kind acts toward those who are mean to us will “heap burning coals of shame on their heads." And as Peter says, when we obey God, He will bless us for it. God’s blessing is surely better than any revenge we could enact on someone ourselves.
How do we conquer evil?
“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:21)
First, by not letting evil conquer us, so that’s exercising the fruits of the Spirit (self-control, patience, peace, joy, love, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, and goodness), and then by doing good, by paying back evil with good, and by loving those who hate us and wish us harm. For when we repay evil with good, when we respond to sin with love, we help to cover a multitude of sins.
“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”(1 Peter 4:8)
“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8)
We know God and we serve God, so we must love. Jesus’ radical teaching was to repay evil with good and we can finally conquer evil by doing so. How different could this world look if every person, if every Christian, lived out this teaching? We could finally conquer evil in our world. Let us cover the evil we encounter with good.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.