Evil for Good
David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the desert so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good.” 1 Samuel 25:21
Sometimes, we receive the opposite of what we expect, as our good deeds can encounter an evil response. Some of those we have served seem to have forgotten our faithfulness, and gratitude has faded from their memory. They forgot the fantastic fruit from our labors, and it has become all about what might inconvenience them.
You were there for them at their point of need but now in your need, they reject your request. It seems like a cruel joke. How could they forget your loyalty and the investment of some of the best days of your life? Yet, this export of evil is just what you are experiencing. There is a relational trade imbalance, as you are the brunt of an evil inequity.
So what do you do when you are repaid evil for good? What is your response? Our flesh screams foul and our anger wants to attack. How could someone show their appreciation for our good will with apathy and disassociation? We want to instantly repay their ingratitude by inflicting some type of loss or pain. How you respond in this moment of deep disappointment will reveal your true character. Anyone can act like a Christian as long as everything is going his way. It is easy to be nice when everyone else is nice. However, when supposedly mature leaders let us down, and even respond to our requests with hostility, what we do next defines our true self. This is a test of our dependence on God.
When evil intent is injected into a relationship, we must resist firing back with equally evil actions. We cannot lower ourselves to this kind of schoolyard revenge. The question is not, “What is the right thing for them to do?” The question is, “What is the right thing for me to do?” You can reverse the force of the verbal jabs by returning good for evil.
When you choose not to fight false accusations by accosting your accusers, you repay good for evil. You trust the truth will come out at the right time, in the right way. When you choose to forgive the malicious actions of insecure and mean men, you repay good for evil. When you pray for ungrateful souls to see God, you repay good for evil.
Above all else, anchor your hope for justice to be done in Almighty God. The Lord can take care of the business of dealing with evil people and their actions. Wait on the Lord to settle matters as He sees fit, especially if you have the power to crush someone.
Trust Christ to take them down in His timing. Your window of reprieve is their opportunity to repent, so be patient. You would want this same grace extended to you. Evildoers may never change, but they might. It is a heart issue between them and God. In the meantime, when you encounter evil, repay it with good and then trust God. The goodness of God trumps evil, for evil is no match for good.
The Bible says, “If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house” (Proverbs 17:13).