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4. Love your enemies and opponents
(Romans 12:17-21)
17Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.18If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.19Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.20Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Jesus overcame the commandment “eye for eye, tooth for tooth”. He put an end to it (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:19-20; Matthew 5:38-42), and gave us his new commandment to love, help, and bless all our enemies. In doing so he overruled all the concepts of the law of the Old Testament, and leads us to the heavenly order in the midst of our corrupt world.
The apostle Paul endeavored, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to practice and live the laws of Jesus, and to teach them to the churches. Therefore, if anyone has deceived you, or spoke evil of you, do not try to claim your right and dignity violently and spitefully, but refer the problem to your Lord who executes justice for the oppressed. Give testimony to the truth, and do not be harsh and rough. Try hard to make peace. Sacrifice your time and your rights. Pray that God may bestow his peace on you and your enemy. The Lord of love can soften every hardened heart, and create in it respect towards you.
Vengeance is entirely prohibited in Christianity, for God alone is the Just One, who, in his holiness, is able to understand all situations, and judge with wisdom and justice (Deuteronomy 32:35).
Jesus effectually prevented us from judging others because of our limited knowledge of their tempers. He said clearly: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).
This statement of our Lord brings us down from the lofty height of our ego and self-deceit, and shows us that nobody has a perfect right. We are all imperfect, participants in faults, and hasty in judging the sinful, while we recognize ourselves without repentance. Paul practically explained the words of Jesus about loving our enemy, saying: When your enemy cannot afford to buy his bread and food, help him, and do not let him hunger. If he had no water in his house to drink, and you have bottles of drinkable water in your house, send him some of your bottles freely that he may not thirst. You are a participant in the needs of your enemy, as the wise king Solomon said: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21-22). This wisdom is not a new philosophy. It came to light three thousand years ago. The problem is not wisdom or no wisdom, but the proud, hardened hearts, which do not bow, forgive, or ask the Lord’s forgiveness for their sins.
Paul sums up his speech with the wonderful statement: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). With this verse, the apostle wants to say to you: “Do not let evil penetrate deeply within you. Do not be evil in yourself, but overcome the uncovered evil against you by the goodness of Christ and his love which surpasses knowledge.” This principle is the secret of the gospel. Jesus took away the sin of the world, and overcame it with his holy love, and his atoning death for us. Christ is the triumphant Victor. He wants you to overcome your evil, and the hardening of your heart that you may receive the spiritual power to bear the evil of others, and overcome it by your prayers and patient love.

O Lord Jesus, we worship you because you are the embodied love of God. You did not force your love, or claim your right with spite and vengeance, but you forgave your enemies, saying: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” that we might be filled with your Spirit, and forgive our enemies, help them, bless them, and bear them as you did.
How do we forgive our enemies, and do so without hatred and vengeance?