The Pastor’s Piece – July 19, 2020
Fellowship of Christian Farmers
By Kevin Cernek
July 19, 2020
You don’t need me to tell you that these are difficult days in our country. After years in which many had hoped for progress, anger and violence over race and other issues have reached new intensity.
Someone said to me recently that she could not remember a time in her entire life when so many people were so angry so much of the time.
The coronavirus – stoked by politics and fear – refuses to subside. It is not shocking or untruthful for me to say that the fear of an untimely death has gripped millions of people in our country. Many won’t even come out of their homes. On top of all this, the shared sense of right and wrong that has bound our people together in this country for centuries has, in large measure, been discarded and swept away. Our nation is deeply divided over issues of life, marriage, gender and even death. Having lost the sense of living under the authority of God, our culture increasingly feels the liberty to take the great issues of life into our own hands and to do with them as we please.
All over our country, believing people are asking, “What in the world are we to do?”
The answer to that question is found in the Bible. Specifically, In Romans 12:9 where the Apostle Paul says: “Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” A few verses later, he tells us in Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
What does “overcoming evil with good” look like? The fact that God says, “Do not be overcome by evil” indicates the real possibility that this is something that can happen, and it does happen. What would it look like for a person to be overcome by evil? Well, here are some examples: a person can be overcome by a constant, steady feed of the news cycles day after day. The evil that is reported continuously from around the world repeatedly day after day can easily overcome a person’s thoughts and that person can easily lose hope of anything good. Another example is that of someone who gives in to the peer pressure of the culture in which they live. A person can be overcome by evil and find himself reveling in the depravity of a godless society. A person can be overcome by evil at work as cynicism and a certain hardness sets in against his bosses and coworkers. A person can be overcome by evil because they have suffered abuse, and the wounds of their life have come to define them so that they lose their confidence, peace, and joy.
But there is another possibility – it is possible to overcome evil with good. Look to Jesus. He endured the evils that were perpetrated against Him and He prevailed. Think about the physical and verbal abuse that was poured out on Him. Think about how people mocked Him and spit on Him, and think about how He was beaten over the head again and again. None of us has endured evil as Jesus did. But Jesus Christ was not overcome by evil. He overcame evil with good. What was the good with which He overcame evil?
- It was the good of faith. He trusted the Father, even when He could not see what the Father was doing, Jesus cried out: “My God, my God, why…?” Yet He said, “into your hands I commit my Spirit.”
- It was the good of hope. “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross…” and He was able to deal with the shame, (Heb. 12:2).
- It was the good of love. Right there on the cross, Jesus prayed for the enemies who persecuted Him. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34). And in that prayer, He created room for them to repent.
A good response to the Scriptures today would be to come to God and say, “I don’t want to be overcome by evil! I don’t want to be defined by the evils I have suffered. I don’t want to be shaped by the evils of this world in which I live.”
I invite you to join me in this prayer: “Lord, use your Word to calm my fears. Lord, renew my hope. Lord, strengthen my resolve.”
There is hope for you in Jesus Christ today. Evil did not overcome Him, and if He is with you, and He is for you, and He is in you, it will not overcome you, either.
Jesus died that we might be redeemed from death and destruction. But we must come to Him in humbleness and repentance.
Lord hear our prayer. Amen.