Read: Romans 12:9-21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (v. 21)
Polycarp was a leader in the church of Smyrna, which suffered heavy persecution from the Romans during the second century. When he was in his eighties, Polycarp was forced into hiding, but he was betrayed to the authorities. When Roman soldiers came to his door to arrest him, Polycarp calmly let them in and fed them a meal. He prayed for them, and for the church of Smyrna, and went peacefully to the trial that would lead to his execution. Instead of being overcome by evil, he sought to overcome evil with good.
Polycarp was right in line with today’s passage. Paul gives us a list of nearly 30 commands to help us live in a world that sets itself against God. This world can be hostile to Christians, but we should still try to bless others—even those who persecute us (v. 14). Our lives should be marked with genuine love. We should honor others, meet their needs, and show them hospitality. We must not be haughty or proud. We are not to avenge ourselves on our enemies, but to leave that with God.
Who will be at your table this week? Hopefully, they are not your enemies, but you may have difficult people around you—even people who purposely try to bring conflict wherever they go. Remember to seek peace “so far as it depends on you” (v. 18), and to overcome evil with good. This is how we demonstrate our genuine love for others. —Laura N. Sweet
As you pray, ask for grace and peace with the people in your life.
About the Author
Laura N. Sweet is a wife, mother, grandmother, and former Christian schoolteacher from Midland, Michigan. She writes devotional material for both adults and children, and her work has appeared in more than a dozen publications.