“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
There are many great quotes in Paul’s writings, so I hope that you take your time reading through his letters as we read through the Bible, but this week, I was struck by this quote. Chapter 12 begins with Paul reminding us give to our bodies as a living sacrifice to God and not to conform to this world but to be transformed by God’s love through Christ. This is a message the world needs to hear now!
The world certainly tries to convince us to live in fear and hate. We are taught to protect ourselves and look out for number one. When evil seems to overtake the world, we are told to fight back. But this is not what the Bible teaches us. We are to love back, not fight. Instead of isolating ourselves or putting our needs first when disaster happens, we are to remember that each of us has special gifts from God to be used for building up the Body of Christ. When evil is all around us, we need to show God’s love more vividly to the world. We need never live in fear and we need never be overwhelmed by evil because good wins.
After this week’s shooting in Las Vegas, it is hard for many people to continue to believe that good wins. We may never know what causes any person to violently take the lives of others, especially strangers, but it is evil. How the devil works in a person to cause him or her to disregard and undervalue human life so much is mind boggling, but it happens. This is not the only time it has happened nor the only time it will happen. Evil will continue in this world. Humans forget that we are all created in the image of God and that Christ died for the world. But in the life to come, in the promised second coming of Christ, the renewal of all creation, evil will be overcome by good once and for all.
In the meantime, we are to give our whole selves as living and holy sacrifices to God. This means we cannot live as if evil will win in the end. We cannot forget our neighbor’s needs because we are afraid for ourselves. We cannot ignore our neighbors in need because they believe differently than us or have a different opinion about something sacred to us. If we are to overcome evil with good, it must start with love. Not love only for those who agree with us. Not love only for those who worship like us, look like us, act like us, or think like us. Love for all who are created in the image of God. Even for those who are our enemies.
Please do not conform to the world as it tells you to hate certain neighbors. Please do not conform to the world when it tells you that the violence is too great for you to make a difference. Please do not conform to the world when it tells you that you must take a side. Do remember that good overcomes evil. The love of Christ is the strongest good that that we have. Use it! Share it. Live it.
Conquer evil with good!