Andrew Moroz is a Ukrainian-American preacher who reports that Christians in his home country are “putting their faith into practice” and shining the light of Christ despite not knowing what will remain of their homeland after the war, as reported by Michael Foust on ChristianHeadlines.com
Moroz says it’s both “beautiful” and “heartbreaking” to see how churches have responded to the Russian invasion.
In describing how people were helping, encouraging, and serving one another in such dire circumstances, Moroz said, “By God’s grace we can overcome evil with good.”
The reference is to the apostle Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
The verse acknowledges that evil exists. Evil people with hateful hearts devise wicked plans to harm innocent people. They selfishly seek to gratify whatever sinful desires that control their mind, emotions, and ambitions. So, they plunder. Rob. Ravage. Rape. And murder. They attack pregnant women and maternity hospitals where women are in labor. And snuff out the lives of little children.
What ought to be the Christian response?
The carnal reaction is to “fight fire with fire.” But Christ calls us to a higher standard. A nobler motive. A righteous response.
Evil can never be conquered by more evil. Returning hate with hate only increases and foments greater hate. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was right, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
So, how can we put this Christian ideal into practice? Here are 3 simple suggestions.
#1 Be good.
Goodness begins within the heart. Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matt. 12:35). Since the fruit of the Spirit includes “goodness,” we must be guided by God’s Word, the revelation of the Spirit. Indeed, “steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.”
The Bible says Barnabas was “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Ax. 11:24). What made him good? We learn that he was a great encourager, generous, kind-hearted, and ministry-minded. That’s a really excellent beginning point if we want to be good and do good.
#2 Love your neighbor.
The 2nd great commandment says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). We learn from Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan that our neighbor is not just someone who lives next door. It’s anyone we chance to meet on life’s highway. A fellow human being toward whom we should feel compassion.
Tim Morral was right when wrote that “evil treats its neighbors as objects, not people. It strips the humanity out of life and turns children of God into nameless faces who should be feared rather than respected or loved.”
To “love your neighbor” is to see other people as made in God’s image. People at work. School. At the grocery store. In other countries. And of different ethnic groups.
#3 Help people.
Andrew Moroz said that even in the midst of his war-torn country they are seeing Ukrainians “putting their faith into practice.” It’s people helping people. It’s doing good to counteract evil.
Jesus is our great example. Luke records that He “went about doing good.” Healing the hurting. Helping the helpless. Giving hope to the hopeless. Comforting the afflicted. Restoring and redeeming the fallen.
Our charge today in a wicked world is to apply Paul’s command. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:9-10).
Dear reader, we cannot ignore evil. That’s never worked. And it never will. As Charles Spurgeon eloquently expressed it in an 1876 sermon,“You must either be overcome of evil, or you must yourself overcome evil; one of the two. You cannot let evil alone and evil will not let you alone. You must fight, and in the battle, you must either conquer or be conquered.”
“Evil is powerful,” observed Jay E. Adams. “But good is more powerful. In fact, evil is so powerful that only good has the power to overcome evil.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman