Overcoming Evil with Good

“Love isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.”  (1 Corinthians 13: 6-7)

There’s a way of reading this that suggests a lifestyle of living like a doormat, of being downtrodden and taking it all on the chin. But Love puts up with all things doesn’t mean “Hit me baby one more time.” But that would be to miss the point of the first clause, that Love isn’t happy with injustice.

It’s better to think of it through Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Again, we are brought to a verse that we don’t want to obey. We would rather overcome evil with evil any time! To return evil for evil is natural; to return good for evil is just plain weird! But this is how God operates. Evil cannot overcome the Christian by doing us harm or even by killing us. Evil will only overcome us if it makes us use evil ourselves.

Remember Boromir in The Lord of the Rings? The evil ring of power simply cannot be used to wage war against the Dark Lord. Evil cannot be overcome by a stronger force of the same kind.  As Martin Luther King Jr. put it, so memorably,  “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

The people that have had the most enduring impact on my life have been those who loved deeply and well.

When you stand before God, I doubt if you will be asked what you achieved, but I am certain you will be asked how you loved.

And as we live now, we live in the reminder of Jesus  that “all people will know that we are His disciples if we have love for one another” (John 13:35). Love was VERY important to Jesus; it compelled Him to give up His life for us! He wants us to imitate Him in how we love others.

Today, Lord, help me to identify those relationships where I need to grow in love –a family member, a neighbour, a person at work or church. Help me now to be specific  and targeted in my prayer (so that I don’t get swamped with generalities!). Enable me to commit to begin loving those people.

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