17 If someone does you wrong, don’t try to pay them back by hurting them. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. 18 Do the best you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 My friends, don’t try to punish anyone who does wrong to you. Wait for God to punish them with his anger. In the Scriptures the Lord says, “I am the one who punishes; I will pay people back.” 20 But you should do this: “If you have enemies who are hungry, give them something to eat. If you have enemies who are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this you will make them feel ashamed.” 21 Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. (Romans 12:17-21 ERV)
Wouldn't it be wonderful if no one did anybody else any wrong? That would be like Eden without the serpent! Unfortunately, we don't live in a world like that, so we had better get it straight in our minds and hearts how it is we are to deal with those who do us wrong. We need to learn how not to hand over the keys to our "crazy car" so often - then maybe we'd be a little less likely to be 'driven' in that direction so frequently! Too many times we experience the sense of "wrongdoing" against us because we turn those keys over to the other person and let them drive us down that "easy street" toward craziness and frustration. When I stop long enough to actually enjoy those things that otherwise frustrate me, I find they aren't so unpleasant if I just slow down, look for some good in the moment, and then make the most of the good I am experiencing. It may not be much, but even a little good from an otherwise "bad" situation is something!
As Paul reminds us, evil will defeat us if we allow it that opportunity. The key is to not hand the opportunity over to that other person on a silver platter. Do what is unexpected - that is what he says actually overcomes evil. The key to avoiding those feelings of wanting someone to get what they deserve is to give them what they don't deserve - to give them (and ourselves) what is unexpected. If I leave work for you to do that I didn't want to do myself, I honestly don't think you will do it without being a little begrudging in doing it, but it doesn't stop me short of leaving it for you. My attitude is probably, "Who cares if you begrudge doing it as long as it gets done and I don't have to do it?" It isn't "MY" problem that you have those feelings of "begrudging" the work at hand. It is yours. So, why are we trying to control how the other person "feels" or what they will "get" in return for their having left us that work to do? We don't control them - but we give them control of us whenever we start to move down that pathway of begrudging them their "freedom" while we are left with the task at hand.
Seems simple, but we will all admit it is harder in real life. Feelings come and we hand over the keys - making the short trip into the lane that takes us down the revenge highway. Unfortunately, that highway leads to the graveyard - not for them, but for us! Our challenge today: How can we do one thing that someone didn't expect as a response to something they did that otherwise would have been something we'd have wigged out over? How can we turn evil into good in our lives by one simple action of giving what is undeserved? It won't be easy at first, but the more we take back those keys that lead us down the "crazy road", the more we will realize those keys don't belong to anyone else but us! Just sayin!