| "Be not
overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12: 21). This
familiar passage places a heavy duty on the Christian that is so contrary
to the ways generally accepted by the world.
There was and is a very strong likelihood that being the recipient of hardships from the hands of enemies might crush the Christian, or so provoke him that he would react in such a fashion that would cause his own condemnation.
Recognizing the most tempting reaction to be retaliation (to be distinguished from self-defense) Paul urges the Christian to rise above that level of conduct and not be overcome by the evil, but so conduct himself that the good he would perform would overcome the evil.