Written by Leland Ping on Jul 04, 2016
A title like this can describe an article about a lot of different topics. Indeed, one could read three different articles about “Overcoming Evil” by three different writers and get three different, yet equally important, perspectives all of which could be rooted in scripture. One way to examine the subject is to look at a pithy command which Paul recorded in his letter to early Christians in Rome. The apostle wrote, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Not only was this advice powerful in the first century, one can only imagine what incredible things would happen if a majority of people today would heed the Holy Spirit’s ancient counsel.
Paul’s powerful statement teaches us first of all that it’s possible for a human to be “overcome” by evil. In reality, that’s not very hard to imagine. We see evidence on a daily or almost-daily basis wherein people allow the influence of Satan to take total control of their lives and dictate their actions. This is not only true with stories of murder and robbery that make the news, but it’s also true in the way we see people talk, treat others, and choose to disrespect their fellow man. People who allow evil thoughts to take up residence in the recesses of their minds are bound to act accordingly. After all, the Bible teaches that what’s in the mind of a person translates into his actions (Proverbs 23:7).
Additionally, this text reminds us of the fact that, as men and women of free will, we get to choose how we’ll deal with evil. As part of that truth, it’s absolutely unavoidable that we’ll both encounter and have to deal with evil during our lives. The very fact that we live on earth guarantees us that we’ll have to deal with repeated challenges to our intention to live faithful lives. Paul tells us to “overcome evil with good.” Each day provides us opportunities to make the choice whether to allow evil to consume us or for us to be strong in fighting Satan.
Interestingly enough, Satan and his evil ways are defeated by good. It’s as if the goodness and light of righteous ways shines out the darkness and evil of those who disobey God. Not that it’s our power to do this, but with God, we do have the ability to squash the power of evil by way of doing good. Doing good to others through service, doing good in worshiping God, and doing good in sharing the gospel message with others are all things that are sure to frustrate Satan but are also certain to please our Creator. Overcoming evil isn’t a mere wish that we might have. Overcoming evil is doable with God’s power and our desire to follow His commands. That’s a message that was important 2,000 years ago and a message that’s timeless today!