Overcoming Evil with Good

By Jimmy Tuten, Jr.

The Apostle Paul informs us that we are not to be “overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). Within collectives of God’s people, there is always a need for peace and concord, kindness and good will. These are indispensable. When strife enters into a congregation, the possibility and hope of doing good are gone. We are to live in harmony with one another. It was Nelson who, after one of his great victories, sent back a dispatch in which he gave as the reason of it: “I had the happiness to command a band of brothers.” The implications of his success are apparent.

Evil will rear its ugly head from time to time, but we must overcome it with good. We are not to be vanquished or subdued by injury received from others. Our temper must not be allowed to get excited; our principles must not be abandoned; our amiable temper must not be ruffled by opposition. God would have us maintain our Christian principles and show the power of the gospel.

Let it be remembered that we are overcome of evil when we suffer our temper to be excited and become enraged and revengeful by engaging in contention with those who injure us. We must show those with evil dispositions the loveliness of a better spirit. As a Christian, proper deportment is essential.

The following illustration from the Primitive Monitor of 1912 demonstrates what we are saying:

Among the incidents of the Revolutionary War, it is recorded that there lived at Ephratah, Pennsylvania, an old Baptist minister, Peter Miller, who had a very staunch enemy in his community who was also a notorious fighter against Old Baptist. This enemy, during the war, was charged and found guilty of treason, and for this was sentenced to hang. As soon as sentence was passed, Peter Miller set out on foot to visit General Washington at Philadelphia to intercede for the man’s life. George Washington told the minister that he was sorry but his pleading for his friend could not be granted. “My friend!” exclaimed Peter Miller, “I have no worse enemy living than that man.”

“What?” said George Washington, “you have walked sixty miles to plead for the life of your enemy? That in my judgement puts the matter in a different light. I will grant you his pardon.” The pardon was made out and Peter Miller hastened at once towards the place of execution, which was fifteen miles from Philadelphia, and which was to take place in the afternoon of that day. He arrived lust as the man was being carried to the scaffold, and the doomed man, seeing the minister walk up, exclaimed, “there Is old Peter Miller. He has walked all the way from Ephratah to gratify his revenge by seeing me hang!”

The words were scarcely out of his mouth when Peter Miller handed him his pardon and thus his life was spared.

Yes brethren. Overcome evil with good!

Truth Magazine XXII: 36, p. 587
September 14, 1978