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Overcoming evil with good. August 31, 2010

Posted by orualundone in Blessings, Evil, Heart Condition, Personal, Struggles.
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I was reading in Romans last night, a bit aimlessly but trying to get back in the habit of making time in the Word a priority. And I stumbled across this little gem of a verse:

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romans 12:21

It struck me, because I feel like I am constantly overcome. Perhaps evil seems like a strong word for my workplace, or for the general distractions of life that get me down, or even for New Jersey. But at work I feel constantly overwhelmed by the negative atmosphere, toxic people, and the overall distastefulness of the job. I feel powerless at home to do the things I want to do – after things like dinner, laundry, errands, and car maintenance are done I don’t have much energy left to pursue what I really care about. Even just driving around this state I get so frustrated with the traffic and the crowds and the new housing developments where productive farms and forests were.

I am letting myself be overcome. The verse spoke to me because that is how I feel daily. I feel overcome in the face of all the negativity and unhappiness around me, in the distance between what I had dreamed of for my life and where I actually am, and in the hundred ways I daily feel thwarted from living a life of passion, joy, and hope.

But Paul is telling us that it is a choice, not an inevitability. We don’t have to be overcome by evil. We can turn it around – Christ has given us that gift. I love the phrase “overcome evil with good”. It’s such a powerful image of evil being overthrown, overturned, and undone in the face of simple goodness. I just imagine being so filled with God’s goodness that none of the bad things around me, the lies of Satan, the actions of others, can assail me.

I am a long way from that. But I’m starting to realize that by letting all the wrong and injustice and pettiness that’s around me make me angry or frustrated or lose hope, I am letting Satan win a battle that has serious negative consequences for my life and for those around me – particularly though who I should be being a light to and instead am functionally just as lost as they are.

And that’s not what I want. I want to be the force for good that the waves of evil break upon and are shattered and dissolve. But I know that’s not something I can just decide to do on my own. While I do have to make choices to do the right thing and to trust God, I also know that the only way to be filled with that kind of goodness so that it reflects on every one of my actions is to steep myself so thoroughly in the goodness of God that it is all that is capable of coming out of me.

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