Today I will be teaching the kids in my children’s ministry Romans 12:9-21. I believe this is one of the most life applicable passages of Scripture within the Bible. In our modern western world of christendom many of us just want to life apply the “my God will supply all my needs” but passages like this one here in Romans… ummmmm not so much.

I just did a quick word search on the word never in Scripture. If my quick search proved accurate, then right here in Romans 12 is the only time in Scripture when we are commanded to never do something. Now don’t get me wrong, there are lots of “do not” commands. There are lots of responses to wrong theology with a “May it never be!“.

But as for a command that pertains for life application… for one on one real life living in a fallen world with fallen people… we have here in Romans 12 two very powerful nevers.

The first:

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. 

Respect what is right in the sight of all men.

Romans 12:17

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.


Not one.

The word evil here in the Greek is kakos and it means evil, bad, in the widest sense. Which means there is absolutely no room for a “but they…”

God says never apodidómi or pay back, return, give back, or render as due evil for evil to anyone. 

Did you get that? Render as due…  Even if you think it is due them… God says never. He then tells us what we are to do… that’s one of the wonderful things about our God and His word… He doesn’t just tell us what not to do. He also tells us what to do instead. This is a lesson we as parents need to remember to apply to our own children. God doesn’t leave us hanging on a never or don’t, He places underneath our feet a firm foundation of action to walk in and on.

Respect what is right in the sight of all men. This word respect is pronoeó and it means take thought for beforehand, provide for, practice, showing necessary forethought to act properly (in God’s will).

The phrase what is right is kalos and it means beautiful, as an outward sign of the inward good, noble, honorable character; good, worthy, honorable, noble, and seen to be so, attractively good; good that inspires (motivates) others to embrace what is lovely (beautiful, praiseworthy); i.e. well done so as to be winsome (appealing).

And now here is the kicker… the word all.

The word all in this verse is pas and it means all, the whole, every kind of.

Every. Kind. Of.

Are you picking up what God is putting down?

Even if someone has done evil to you. Even if someone is doing and giving evil toward you in the widest sense of the word… don’t give it back… even if they deserve it… do not return it. Instead take careful consideration of what this person finds good, honorable, noble… and respond to them properly… no matter who they are or what they have done.

This brings us to our next never

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Romans 12:19:20

For when He was persecuted He blessed.

When He was reviled He respected.

When He was mocked He mourned.

When He was hurt He healed.

When He was cursed He comforted.

When He was hated He loved…

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:8