“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat.”
“Someone may have done something wrong to you. But do not do something wrong yourself in order to punish them. Do the things that everyone knows to be right. If possible, be friendly with everyone… Do not let evil things defeat you. But defeat evil things by your good behaviour.” Romans 12:17-21.
Here’s Peterson’s paraphrase in The Message:
“Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.”
Paul had seen Stephen die; and he stood by, as an enemy. But Stephen had prayed for his murderers (Acts 7:60).
Paul also knew Jesus’ words from the cross (Luke 23:34) and what Jesus taught about enemies (Matthew 5:38-48). So Paul urges followers of Jesus to live that way. He says, basically, “Refuse to do what you know is wrong. Show that your actions are good. Encourage peace. Avoid quarrels.”‘
And dont ever retaliate. That’s a biggie.
For three good reasons.
1. Only God has the right to punish actions. In the end, God himself will show his fair judgement. Be careful not to play God with other people’s lives.
2. If an enemy receives kindness, he may be sorry for his actions. He may change his ways. Paul uses words from Proverbs 25:21-22. ‘Hot coals’ means that the enemy will be ashamed.
3. And if I hate someone who hates me, haven’t I just made it worse? Am I doing right to do so? “Love your enemies” is a difficult verse to misconstrue. And yet somehow we manage it.
Evil deeds cannot defeat someone who is evil. Instead, Christians overcome evil powers when they do the right things. They do the things that God wants them to do.
And that is the only way to defeat sin.