Overcome Evil with Good

The other day I was visiting with two neighbors. One had moved here from New York and the other from Boston. I had just returned from a family reunion in Oklahoma City, where I lived for a while. We were struck by the fact that each of us came from the three main cities in the US associated with terrorist attacks. We shared our stories, talking about where we were at the time, and if we knew anyone directly affected. It was a somber moment.

I suppose this discussion came up because that previous Sunday was the 20th anniversary of the OKC bombing. Even my neighbors here in Raleigh had seen specials about it on the news. Let me tell you, it was very moving to be in Oklahoma City and in church as we took a moment of silence at 9am, the time 20 years ago, when so many lives were lost.


The sermon honored those who had died. It was a time to grieve not only for them, but for all of us. There are very few (if any) of us who have not been touched by tragedy in some way. 

In just the prior week, there were deaths that shocked and saddened my family, from a friend who died in her sleep unexpectedly to a young man who tragically took his life. Together, we also prayed for friends who are suffering from cancer and have exhausted all known means of recovery apart from a miracle. We watched the news and heard of murders, child abuse, executions of innocent people, and other violent crimes too numerous to count.

Sometimes, it seems that the world is out of control and evil is prevailing. Yet in the face of tragedy, these Biblical teachings bring me peace and hope:

  1. Jesus reminded us that there are hardships and evil in this world. Even the Son of God suffered. However, we are to take heart because he overcame the suffering, so that we can too. “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage--I have conquered the world." John 16:33
  2. In the midst of tremendous suffering and persecution, Paul instructed the Romans to overcome the evil around them by doing good. “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good… Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God… Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink.” Romans 12:17-21
  3. Jesus also tells us to act like children of God and sincerely pray for our enemies. Be a blessing to all, just as God blesses all in his mercy. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:44-45
  4. How do we act like children of God? We are to be like Jesus—humble, not proud. Willing to serve rather then be served. Jesus came to earth to show us how to live out the prophet Micah’s instructions, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.

When the news makes you wonder if perhaps the end times are near, or if personal tragedy leaves you wondering if there really is a God, or if your world feels so out of control you are frozen in terror, unable to get out of bed, then hear the word of the Lord, as He calls to you:

"I will go before you and make the rough places smooth."

"I will give you hidden treasures, riches stashed away in secret places, so you may recognize that I am the LORD, the one who calls you by name, the God of Israel."

“I have given you a title of honor, though you have not known Me.”

"I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged Me; That men may know from east to west there is no other God. I am the LORD, and there is no other.”

These verses are from Isaiah 45, when God called Cyrus, a pagan king who didn't know God, to conquer and show the world the one true God. I believe these passages speak to us today. God used Cyrus and He can use us to be an example to the world. God will give us strength to conquer our trials, even when we doubt or tremble in fear.

God blesses us abundantly with hidden treasures, so that we will recognize his greatness. He calls us by name, and makes the rough places smooth. We are children of God! Jesus showed us how to act like one. So, let’s be strong and courageous. Let’s overcome evil with good, so the world will know that the one who calls us is the LORD and there is no other!

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™