Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
This is the last verse of Romans 12. These words were given first to Christians living in Rome at the time of Nero. These were dark days, and evil was on the rise.
What we have here is a great message of hope. God is saying, “The evils you have suffered do not need to define you. The culture in which you live does not need to shape you. You can overcome the evil that has been done to you and you can overcome the evil that is around you. God has something better for His people than being overcome by evil. Overcome evil with good!
How can we do that? It begins with love and it must be genuine (12:9). God calls us to be actively engaged. Do not be slothful in zeal, but fervent in spirit serving the Lord (12:11). We have to stick at our calling with steady tenacity. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (12:12). Then we see that God calls us to a generous life—opening our hearts and our homes—rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. And we are to pursue all of this with humility. Do not be haughty. Never be wise in your own sight (12:16). Love, zeal, steadiness, generosity, and humility, these are Christian virtues.
Where do these virtues come from? If you’re not sure, read Galatians 5:22-23.