Kindness and Compassion
When writing to the Gentiles in Rome as recorded in Romans the twelfth chapter, the Apostle Paul made a distinctive directive according to guidance from the Holy Spirit that the church not return evil with evil. Specifically he wrote in Romans 12: 17 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. “Paul’s directive was to help the church in settling disputes and arguments among fellow Christians.
Earlier in chapter 12 he uses the phrase “be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” to indicate that a fleshly view of settling disputes cannot be the one adopted by a Christian. As a sanctified body of believers, Christians ought to be different in all manners of life. We should talk different, look different and be distinctive. That’s what sanctified means, set apart.
So even when we have disputes or things are done to us that we feel are unjust, we are not licensed to respond in an ungodly manner.
Jesus taught that “offenses must come,” in Matthew 18:7 but he also said “woe unto him” through whom those offenses come. Jesus was thus explaining that in life, we are going to have temptations, stumbling blocks and things that we have to overcome. That’s a part of life. But what we must be very careful to do is to ensure that we are not the one bringing the offense.
Because of the great sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf, we too have to give our lives as a sacrifice. We must withhold evil and replay evil with good. Paul says that “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” And that has to be our emphasis daily. As much as we can control our daily interactions, we ought to be creating environments for peaceful relationships with everyone we interact with.
That’s accomplished by kindness and compassion. John, the apostle, taught that we should love each other so that the love of God would be evident in our daily walk with Christ. By loving, we prove that we belong to God. When given the opportunity to curse, if we bless, then we prove we belong to Jesus Christ and are his disciples. Even members of his body, the church.
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends,” Paul continues to write to the church as recorded in Romans 12, verse 19. And he closes the chapter by saying “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” In so doing, he says in verse 20, you will heap coals on your enemies head but you will be pleasing in the sight of the Lord.