Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It sounds like nice advice. Do good to others, even when they do evil to you. So someone treats you like dirt and you smile and give them a compliment or help them with something. Now what? They magically stop acting like a jerk and become your closest friend?
Probably not.When St. Paul tells us to overcome evil with good, he’s telling us nothing other than overcoming evil with forgiveness. After all, what is good except forgiveness and where does forgiveness come from except from Jesus?
Did Jesus harm the Pharisees? Did He punch out some scribes or Sadducees? Was He picking on them? Only their false religion. But when the Lord did good to them what happened? They killed Him.
So how exactly is evil overcome by good? It seems like the only thing good is good for is getting yourself crucified. So what if it does? So what if the good you do to another person is laughed at and mocked. So what if the people you try to be nice to turn around and throw you under the bus. You’re a baptized child of God. What do you care? You have the body and blood of Jesus in you, so what does it matter? You have the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life, so what’s the problem?
You see, evil is evil because it is selfish. It does things to hurt or help others because there is some selfish motive. Good does good for another person with no thought of repayment or reward. That’s why we will never do good without Jesus because even our good works are the filthy rags which are filled with our own selfish motives. But in Christ, the good that you do is actually good because your sins are forgiven.
Doing good to others isn’t really about them or about you. It’s about living in Christ and trusting in Him, that He has everything under His own control now and forever. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Lord, it belongs not to my care Whether I die or live; To love and serve Thee is my share, And this Thy grace must give. LSB 757:1