Grace & Goodness Overcome Evil

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

– Romans 12:21

How clearly I remember when I first arrived at seminary. I was a young 25-year-old young man who knew everything because, well, I had the Bible and that was all I needed! However, being part of a Reformed denomination, I was told that if I wanted to be a pastor, I needed to go to seminary. So on my first day at Fuller, I confidently waltzed into a class and a really well-known theologian was my professor. At one point during that initial session, this respected man of God made an assertion about something that I didn’t agree with, and I stood up and literally said to him out loud, “You’re wrong!” Interestingly, he didn’t lash out in response to my comment, nor did he make me feel embarrassed — he simply began asking me questions. As he worked on dismantling my argument one probe at a time, I gradually lost confidence in my position and sat down feeling like a sucker. It wasn’t long before I realized that I had stepped right into his trap. I learned quickly that his approach to teaching was to be the opposite of whatever a student thought they were in order to model for them what it might be like to one day field questions and arguments from congregants. That aside, the point I want to make about this teacher is that he never once shamed me for my arrogance or disrespect. In fact, just the opposite — he befriended me and took me to Coco’s after class to buy me some pie and calm me down.

Friend, I want to encourage you to be a person like my professor. When someone powers up and does you wrong, overcome their evil with good. In fact, put the shoe on the other foot and imagine what it would feel like if you, in the midst of a struggle, sin, or blatant wrong, were shown unexpected mercy instead of punishment. I am almost certain that such an experience would teach you more about the character of Jesus than chastisement ever would! When your position is challenged or you are unjustly accused, if you respond calmly, collectively, and compassionately, with joy and love in your heart, the wrong done to you will be swallowed up by grace. The result? Jesus will shine! Isn’t that great news?


Jesus, I am thankful that in you, I have the power to overcome evil with good. Elevate my perspective and fill my heart with your grace so that I represent you well.


Has a blatant wrong on your part ever been overcome by the grace and goodness of another? How did it impact you?

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