Joseph complained about the verbal and behavioural daggers he encountered to his friend. In return, he expected words of sympathy. However, the answer of his friend surprised him, “Try using burning coals to teach him a lesson!” He quoted apostle Paul from Romans 12:20-21: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Christ is our example, and he willingly died for his enemies. We also need to overcome evil with good.
When we let our adversary’s behaviour make us evil, we allow the other person to be the victor. If we let a person’s wayward behaviour govern our emotions such that our terrible anger, misery or depression is owing to their evil, then we are being overcome by evil. Paul says, you don’t have to be overcome that way. Paul is addressing here the victim mentality of our day- people who feel or do evil things and then blame it on someone else’s evil. They let themselves be overcome by someone else’s evil so that they now do evil also, and blame the other.
Joseph introspected and considered his reactions. He honestly examined whether he allows his emotions, thoughts, and actions to be reflexes to what people say and do to him. And if so, the corollary is that he could then blame others for his behaviour and not take responsibility for his anger, his bitterness, his discouragement, his depression, and his vengeance. But Paul says, no. When Jesus followers encounter evil, they don’t merely respond to evil, they respond to Christ who will judge evil. Therefore, do not be overcome by evil. Do not let your enemy’s hostility make you hostile.
Don’t let another person’s evil provoke you to evil thoughts or evil attitudes or evil deeds. Christ is our friend, Lord, leader, champion and treasure. Are we responding with Christlike attitude to evil?