"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).
I remark, then, that a man is overcome of evil:
1. When ill-treatment excites the angry passions
2. When he settles down into confirmed hatred of the offender
3. When he indulges designs of revenge
4. When the ill-treatment of one leads us to suspect the friendship of others
5. When abuse begets habitual sourness of temper
6. When he attempts unnecessarily a public vindication of his character
In Romans 12 Paul is more concerned with our responsibilities than our rights. There is a law of accountability that presupposes obligations to our brothers and sisters, for we are not islands unto ourselves. If someone has done what we consider wrongdoing, we do not have the right to make their wrong our right to avenge, for only God can assess motivations. We do have a responsibility to keep our own heart right in relation to that person. We should be on our knees with words of love for the person instead of words of anger and gossip on our tongues, thereby making the situation much worse.
A story is told of a duke who wanted to war against one of his peaceful neighbors. The troops rode into the town and found the children playing in the streets and the people at their usual occupations. They pulled up their horses and asked one of the workers, "Where is the enemy?" The man replied, "I don't know. We're your friends." There was nothing left to do but ride back home. The duke was disarmed by goodness and innocence.
"Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary bless. . ." (1 Peter 3:9 RSV). There are times when this seems impossible! Ask Jesus to stand between you and the one who has hurt you; let Him be your Filter.