I’m fourteen years old. My life is in turmoil – divorced parents, foster care, physical abuse. I am an angry boy. I have a short fuse, but that is just an excuse. I walk the school halls hoping someone will look at me wrong so that I have an excuse to let my rage loose. Sometimes, my friends literally hold me back.
Fast forward 20-some years. I’m in a fast food restaurant, and place an order. The clerk, who is quite a bit younger than I, and a lot smaller, recites the order – but there is an error.
So, I say, “Sir, that last item wasn’t right, I would like a chicken sandwich.”
“That’s not what you said.”
“Oh, OK. Would you mind changing it to a chicken sa…”
“You’re saying I’m lying?!” he screamed.
“Oh no, I figured I must have mis-spoken, in which case, I’m sorry. Could you please change tha…”
“Now you’re saying I am not listening?!?!?” Screaming even louder.
I couldn’t figure out what I had done to incite him. I replied, ever so calmly, “Oh no, sir. I would not do that. Could you cha…”
He began to threaten me. I really think he wanted to fight!
I kept assuring him that I meant no offense. I eventually got my order and said, “Thank you, and again I apologize for the confusion.” and walked out.
My son was with me.
When we got in the car he says, “Dad – the stories I’ve heard about you – I thought you were going to kill him!”
First of all, I am ashamed that he knows these stories.
Secondly, there was a time when that young man would have had a near death experience by my hands. But God changed me – that’s the last thing I want to ever do – and it was a long hard road to get here.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
On my journey, I realized that “do not be overcome with evil” starts way before it ever gets physical. How do I react to people in my mind? How does that translate to my eyes, my face, my tongue? This verse deals with how we react to someone who does “evil” to us. Read the rest (Romans 12:17-21). You’ll realize that the right response to someone doing you wrong is to love them. Wow.