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二○一九年七月二十日/七月二十一日                                                                                    Click here for English version

不以惡報惡

周曉暉牧師

以復仇為題材的電影往往非常賣座,這類故事大有市場,大概是因為我們的人生即或未經歷過電影所描繪的慘事,但也總試過落在邪惡的處境中,或遭過惡待,或受過辱罵。我們討厭自己束手無策、無能為力,甚或會渴望能向對方十倍奉還。

但聖經卻說:「不要以惡報惡,以辱罵還辱罵,反而要祝福,因為你們蒙召就是為此,好使你們承受福氣。」(彼前三 9,新漢語譯本)這節經文,連同上文下理,明確地告誡我們,報復並不是一個選項。

因為不論加害或被害的一方,隨時都能拿出證明,作為自己下一步報復或反擊的理據,以致暴力和傷害繼續綿延下去。以史為鑑,可怕的惡事,終究會在世世代代裡被承襲著;「以惡報惡」只會讓邪惡循環不息,使人不斷成為罪與黑暗的奴僕。

經文要神的子民繞過「以惡報惡、以辱罵還辱罵」的想法,用一個截然不同的方式去面對攻擊。因此面對令我們飽受委屈、排擠、辱罵、迫害的人,應有的回應不是詛咒,不是報復,不是「你敬我一尺,我敬你一丈」;反倒是祝福——以美善的作為和祈求為回應。

這樣做的結果,並非只為改變對方;這樣做的結果,更是要使自己「承受福氣」。當我們拒絕「以惡報惡」,刻意擺脫復仇的想法,就是去斷言拒絕讓別人的邪惡來主導我們的人生,去宣示自己不願活在內心痛恨的扭曲中,免得惡生出惡,一生被罪糾纏。

曾在客西馬尼園的黑夜動過刀的彼得,最深刻明白此道理。他親眼目睹了主耶穌縱然面對極大的制度和人身暴力,遭到最大的侮辱和謾罵,但主耶穌始終沒有「以惡報惡、以辱罵還辱罵」,「反而」走上十字架,打破了這惡生出惡的循環,成就了救恩,令我們「被贖出來,得以脫離……從先祖那裡所承襲的虛妄行為……」(彼前一 18),成為屬神的子民,在主裡有了自由,非但能刻意擺脫「以惡報惡」的想法,更能以美善作回應。

今天,我們縱使遭逢惡事或辱罵,仍要將焦點轉回到上主身上,深信上主必會「照著各人的行為,和各人所作的事應得的結果來報應各人」(耶三十二 19,新譯本)。同時我們也要不忘為別人祈求上主的拯救,因為我們「蒙召就是為此」。





Pastor's Sharing
Do Not Repay Evil with Evil
Rev Arnold Chow


Movies on vengeance are invariably popular, and it is easy to understand why they make box office hits. Even if we have not really experienced the tragedy depicted in the movie story, we must have found ourselves in some sort of evil circumstances, been subjected to evil treatment, or have been insulted. We hate to see our hands tied, not being able to do anything to rectify the situation. We may even long for retaliation – to pay back the other party ten times for what they have done.

But the Bible says: "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing" (1 Peter 3:9). The verse in this context clearly states that vengeance is not an option.

Obviously in cycles like this, both the evil doer and the one who takes revenge have good reasons to justify their next act of vengeance. The violence and damage goes on and on. There are many examples in history: terrible evil deeds are handed down from generation to generation. "Repaying evil with evil" can only extend the vicious cycle, making humankind slaves to sin and darkness.

The Bible verse above exhorts the people of God against repaying evil for evil, insult for insult and to make a totally different response to attacks. Those of us who are treated with unfairness, rejection, insults or persecution should not react with curse, vengeance, or repay people tenfold for what they have done. On the contrary, we should respond with blessing in good deeds and prayer.

Such a response is not just intended to change the other party, but the result is that we will "inherit a blessing." When we refuse to "repay evil with evil" and consciously get away from vengeance, we are preventing our lives from being oriented by other people's evil. We are declaring that we will not live with a twisted heart full of hatred, which breeds evil and brings lifelong bondage to sin.

Peter who has drawn his sword in the darkness of Gethsemane understood this most deeply. He witnessed Jesus facing extreme systemic and individual violence, insults and humiliation but Jesus did not "repay evil with evil" or "insult with insult." On the contrary, Jesus took up His cross and broke the “evil breeds evil” cycle. In accomplishing salvation, He enabled us to be "redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors" (1 Peter 1:18b). We become His people and have freedom in Him so we not only can consciously stop “repaying evil for evil” but can also respond with good deeds.

Today, even in the face of evil deeds or insults, we should still turn our focus on the Lord in the conviction that He will "reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve" (Jeremiah 32:19). At the same time, let us not forget to pray for others' salvation, because it is "to this you were called."