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Overcoming Evil With Good

By Watchman | August 8, 2009

“Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil.  Cling to what is good.  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…..Repay no one evil for evil.  Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men….’If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink…”  ( Romans 12: 9-14, 17, 18, 20)

     As the world we live in becomes more and more secularly inclined, we Christians have been taking quite a bit of ridicule and abuse for our beliefs.  At first this mystified me, as I couldn’t understand how even unbelievers could be so mean-spirited and hard-hearted that they could not even refrain from harrassing those who tried to share the wonderous love of Jesus with them.  How could they not at least understand why we choose to live in the joy that comes with a life lived in close relationship with God?  Then it occurred to me :  What if the problem is that they are not seeing either from us?

     As children of God we are commanded to preach His word, in and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). The Epistle of James makes it clear that, although works cannot bring salvation, we show our faith in Christ by the works we do; and that “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:20)  We are to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Ephesians 5:2)  Yet, too often we spend our time complaining of our treatment and demanding our Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and worship.  Please don’t misunderstand me:  those rights, guaranteed in the US by the 1st Amendment are crucial to us as believers, as “hearers and doers of the word.”  However, it is important to remember that even the first Amendment is not as irrevocable as God’s word to us.  The temptation to “fight fire with fire” is  almost overwhelming:  I have myself spoken in too  unguarded a fashion when defending my faith at times.  Although we must never be silent in the presence of evil or turn down an opportunity to testify about the love of God, we need to be careful to not present ourselves as merely opponents schlepping on the opposite side of the boxing ring.  Recently I reacted to some very ungodly statements made on the internet.  The blasphemy both startled and angered me, and I wrote a response that was intemperate and unloving.  Afterward, I realized two things:  One, that (although my anger may have come under the heading of “righteous anger” ) God didn’t need me to get angry and defend Him; and two, that by exhibiting only anger I was sharing neither God’s love nor His mercy.  God asks that I respond in a way which shows His unconditional love for people; I merely wanted someone to PAY for their unrepentent blasphemy.  Which way, God’s or mine, is more likely to bring unbelievers into the kingdom?  Naturally, God’s way!  God requires us to return good for evil; to be a blessing to our enemies, and to spread the good news of His love to those who are living in darkness.  Not everyone will respond; some may even be positively venomous in their response to hearing the word of God.  Scripture tells us the Light came into the world, but many prefer to live in the darkness because their deeds are evil, and they don’t want to be confronted with their sins.  This embracing of  evil is between those who do so and God.  Our job is to see to it that they understand that they really do have a choice–that Jesus loves them and wants them to come to Him with  contrite and repentent hearts; that there is a life and an eternity in the presence of God in heaven awaiting those who call themselves by His name. 

     Perhaps the first step for us all is to recapture that spirit of joy ourselves.  If we are getting too weighted down by the evils of the world around us, then it is time to step out of the world for just a short time and refresh our spirits in the presence of the Lord.  Remember, we are to be “in the world, but not of it.”  We are meant to live in the world as salt and light, but Jesus tells us that salt can lose its savor.  When this happens, we need to be renewed through fellowship with the Lord.  Maybe we need to go to Him for forgiveness of sins we have committed but have long ago gotten out of the habit of confessing to Him, maybe we need to ask Him to help us see others through His eyes again or maybe we just need a little time to sit at His feet and worship Him for who He is and what He has done for us.  That feeling of joy which settles on the heart of a Christian when he or she is first born again should be within us regardless of our circumstances, yet many seem to be losing that feeling.  With the problems in the economy we are facing, and a world that is increasingly hostile to the word of God, it is easy to forget that we really have no part in it.  Our trust should not be in the world at all–not in the economy or in our bank accounts, not in a government or in politicians–but in the promises made to us by the Lord Jesus.  He who died to be the perfect offering for the sins of the world and was raised again to be our king forever more is more than capable of helping us through difficult times if we walk in His righteousness and trust in His word.  He will neither leave us nor forsake us–and we must remember not to leave or forsake the lost if there is even a tiny chance that our witness and testimony could bring the sinner to repentence.  While it is the Holy Spirit who draws men and women to God, we may well be the final witness to someone around us before the Holy Spirit is able to convict him or her of the glorious presence of the Savior.  Glory to God!


Topics: A Special Word for Today, According to Scripture, Kingdom Living | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Overcoming Evil With Good”

  1. Stacey Derbinshire Says:
    August 8th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

  2. Shirley Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Wow, Did this ever hit me between the eyes! I’m guilty of this sort of thing. Thank you for the loving reminder!