«Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good» (Romans 12:21).
WE ALL KNOW how to treat well those who treat us well. However, we do not always manage to do so. Now, attempting to do good to the one who does us wrong is serious business. The traditional «law of talion» is a legal principle of retributive justice in which the rule imposed a punishment commensurate with the crime committed, thus obtaining reciprocity. Talis in Latin means «identical» or «like»; in other words, the penalty should not be equivalent, but identical. Jesus and Paul presented an opposite idea so that we may not be overcome by evil: they said that we should overcome evil with good.
When Canadian writer Margot van Sluytman was a teenager in 1978, her father Theodore was murdered in the store where he worked. When the family received the news, they were devastated. Glen Flett, a repeat offender, was imprisoned and convicted of the murder. In prison, he learned about Christ, repented of all his sins, and was converted to the gospel.
When his sentence ended, he discovered that Margot was a brilliant and award-winning writer, and together with his wife, made a secret donation to her work Soon after, Glen’s wife received an email from Margot asking whether she was married to Glen Flett, the man who had killed her father on March 27, 1978. This email opened a virtual dialogue for a while, until they met face to face. Glen asked for forgiveness and cried, and Margot hugged her father’s killer.
How was this possible? Friends told Margot not to reopen her wounds, but she just said, «Now we are restored and we have hope.»
What a tremendous example of forgiveness! Regardless of the gravity of the situation, we cannot put a question mark where God has already placed a period. «If you want to be happy for a moment, take revenge; if you want to be happy forever, forgive» (Tertullian).
That is what it means to repay evil with good. That payment does good as much for the offender as for the offended. Only those embraced by God can embrace in this way.
«The real greatness and nobility of the man is measured by the power of the feelings that he subdues, not by the power of the feelings that subdue him. The strongest man is he who, while sensitive to abuse, will yet restrain passion and forgive his enemies. Such men are true heroes» (Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 689).
Be a true hero today and do good to the one who did you wrong. It is not easy, but it is necessary and worthwhile.
God will always repair a broken heart.
For Him to do that, you must give Him all the pieces.