“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21/KJV).
Again I am concerned with ‘evil’. In 1 Corinthians 13:5d we read that love “thinketh no evil.” (KJV). Does this mean a Christian has to suppress any negative thoughts and any awareness of what is wrong? Does it mean a Christian must always smile and be totally unaware of evil going on round about him?
In the news, you can learn about many negative things happening in this world. You hear of wars and rumours of wars. You can watch reports on terrorist attacks somewhere in the world. Some will also have been told of killings and murders in the cities where they live.
Does a Christian have to withdraw into some kind of monastic seclusion where he would be altogether untouched by what is going on in this world? Does this phrase in 1 Corinthians 13:5 challenge us to always and exclusively look at the bright side of life?
One rule of biblical exposition is: It is good to explain verses and passages of the bible by other verses and passages of the bible. You can learn what the bible as a whole teaches by reading and studying not merely some favourite verses.
In Romans, we read: “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” To me, this suggests that a Christian often will be surrounded by evil and negative things. Jesus himself also told his disciples they would have troubles while in this world. (Cf. John 16:33).
Paul even suggests that being confronted with evil going on round about us might be a real battle. He challenges the Roman believers not to yield to evil.
We are not called to ignore whatever is evil in our surroundings. It is not wrong to give some thoughts to evil happenings. Yet God wants us to cling to that which is good in our assessments and in our daily living.
Jesus wants his disciples to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. (Cf. Matthew 5:13-16). Christians are to be some kind of positive influence in their own surroundings.
Doing that which is good is a method to hinder the spreading of evil in this world. Good deeds and a good example can be an encouragement to others. We can make this world a better place by not giving in to the desires of terrorists and evildoers.