Do you know the difference between good and evil? What makes something good? What makes something evil?
Being a Christian is all about learning how to love. And Romans 12 is all about how to love each other. And we can’t love each other well until we know the difference between what is good and what is evil. And so in his letter to the Romans Paul says this:
Romans 12:21. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
If we are going to love God and love each other then we have to be able to tell the difference between what is evil and what is good. Why? Because evil and good are both powerful forces in this world that can change a person either for the worse or for the better. Paul warns us that a person can be “overcome” or defeated by evil. We can be controlled by it.
Evil is anything that goes against God and his love. And evil is all around us. People hate each other. People even hurt each other sometimes. People fight, and bully, and are mean to each other. Have you ever been evil?
But the good news is that a person can also be overcome by good. Good is also a powerful force in the world, and when you have Jesus you have the force of his goodness inside of you. His own life is inside of you constantly fighting the evil that wants to hurt you. Whenever you want to sin or disobey God, Jesus is there showing you how to be good instead. When you want to hate someone, Jesus shows you how to love. When you want to hurt your enemy, Jesus shows you that you can be kind instead.
Paul calls this “overcoming evil with good.” And that is what Jesus and the cross are all about. At the cross, Jesus was overcome by the force of evil. Evil men put Jesus on the cross. And then all the sins, all the evil, of the world was put on Jesus.
But Jesus was not overcome by evil. No! He overcame evil with good. He conquered all that is evil by the power of his good life. He beat up all hate with love. He crushed all sin with salvation. Jesus didn’t become evil to defeat evil. He used the goodness of God to defeat evil and rise from the dead.
And now, with Jesus resurrection power inside of us, we too can use the goodness of Jesus’ life to overcome evil with good. We can reject hate and choose to love instead.
Because of Jesus we have God’s goodness inside of us.
With Jesus we can overcome evil with good.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Talk about some practical ways that your family can overcome evil with good. Maybe by helping someone who is stuck in a hard situation, or by making choices to forgive and be kind to those who haven’t always been kind to you.
Despicable Me is a story of an evil villain who is overcome by good. Here’s the final scene where, because he has been changed by love, he saves the girls that once he wouldn’t have cared about.
At the cross you overcame evil with good. Help me to overcome evil with good too. Help me to love and not hate, even those who are hard to love.
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