“Repay no one evil for evil… never avenge yourselves… to the contrary, 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. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:17, 19, 20-21).
This is table is the place where we enact this ethic of goodness. Here, Jesus serves us, His former enemies. In fact, we have become His friends. We are forgiven, and by His Spirit, He is making us more and more like Him. But we remember the old days, the old ways, and the old ways die hard in every son of Adam. And so when you come to this table, recognize that Jesus is in the process of not repaying your evil. He is not avenging Himself on you. To the contrary, He sees you hungry and thirsty, and He offers you His body and blood. But He too does it to heap burning coals on your head. He does it to continue overcoming the evil in you, and He does it by His goodness.
But if this is what you are receiving from the Host of this table, then this is what you are also giving to one another, sharing with one another. You have sometimes been offended by your wife, offended by your husband, jealous of your brother, impatient with your roommate, exasperated with your children, perhaps you have despised and even hated your neighbor. But this is the grace to end that, the goodness you need to overcome every evil. As you pass the bread and wine to each other, you proclaim the gospel to each other, the body of Jesus broken, the blood of Jesus shed. This is the goodness that overcomes all evil. And then, don’t stop when you leave here. Hold on to that goodness, hold on to that grace, because I bet in about five minutes you’ll run into some situation that needs it.