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Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. - Romans 12:21

If this verse had been written by uninspired men, it would have said, "Don't let people walk all over you. Give them back a dose of their own medicine." The world thinks in terms of retaliation and of revenge.

But we learn a different lesson in the school of Christ. We should not allow ourselves to be overpowered by evil. Rather we should use good to defeat evil.

A story attributed to Francis of Assisi illustrates the point. As a little boy was playing in the neighborhood of his home, he discovered that there was an echo when he shouted. It was his first experience with echoes, so he began to experiment. He shouted "I hate you" and the message came back "I hate you." Raising his volume, he hollered "I hate you" and the words came back with greater intensity "I hate you." The third time he cried out with all his strength "I hate you" and the words bounced back with great vehemence "I hate you." This was all he could take. He ran back to his house, sobbing convulsively. His mother had heard the loud yelling out in the yard, but still she asked, "What's the matter, dear?" He answered, "There's a little boy out there who hates me." She thought for a moment, then said, "I'll tell you what to do. You go outside and tell that little boy that you love him."

So the youngster ran out and called out "I love you." Sure enough, the words came back, clear and gentle, "I love you." He called again with greater emphasis, "I love you" and once again he heard the answering "I love you." A third time he cried out with deep sincerity, "I love you" and the words came back to him tenderly, "I love you."

As I write this, people all over the world are shouting "I hate you" at one another and wondering why tensions keep mounting. Nations are expressing hatred of other nations. Religious groups are locked in combat. Races are striving against one another. Neighbors are quarreling over the back fence. And homes are torn by quarrels and bitterness. These people are allowing themselves to become conquered by evil, because hate breeds hate. If they would just change their strategy by repaying hatred with love, they would conquer evil with good. They would discover that love breeds love.

We can never be too careful
What the seeds our hands sliall sow;
Love from love is sure to ripen,
Hate from hate is sure to grow.


Bible Verses: Romans 12:21

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