Once again we are waking up with the morning news filled with a story of senseless violence. A hopeless and bitter sorrow comes like an unwelcome guest to our door and how we answer its knocking on will determine whether we become a part of the problem or part of the solution. The apostle Paul was an expert in violence. He had begun as a significant part of the problem. He actively led the charge in persecuting the early Christian church. Though he may not have cast a stone he was a member of the mob that stoned Steven. Later as Paul traveled towards Damascus to bring his violent anger to that place Jesus met him on the road and transformed his life. Paul went almost immediately from being the persecutor to being on the receiving end of that evil. He was regularly lied about, stoned, beaten and imprisoned but rather than becoming bitter and spiteful Paul had this to say.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
We are angry because in the immediate rush of emotions it feels as if the good and innocent are on the losing side. It appears as though hate and violence is so much stronger and more powerful. We need to shake ourselves in that instant and remember that at His very weakest hour on the cross Jesus overcame death hell and the grave. He forgave His murderers, saved the thief, provided for His mother’s care, gave opportunity to Nicodemus and Joseph to stand up for their faith and awakened faith in the heart of the stunned Centurion.
Good will always be stronger than evil no matter the false impression of temporary victory that hatred may give. The violent confess by their very hurtful acts their own spiritual weakness. Brief gains on the temporary battlefield of this life mean nothing in the true war for hearts and souls. There is no greater force in Heaven or earth than the love of God.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord Romans 8:38-39
When the darkest night and the strongest storms are over, the sun will still rise at God’s command to give us hope for a new day!
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can” attributed to John Wesley