Last Saturday, I found myself sitting on the hard wooden bleachers of Lake Howell High School, stuffed shoulder to shoulder between other family and friends of high school students from across Seminole County who were assembled in a fan shape as an orchestra. Following a deep breath, the conductor raised his baton and his eyes toward the players. Then he thrust them down to start the music.
I don’t remember the name of the piece now, but I remember the swell of emotions that rose in me. It was the day after the attacks on Paris. My mind was wrestling with how evil human beings can be to one another. My heart kept imagining what the people directly affected were experiencing. I pondered what kind of response should be made. The orchestra piece expressed shades of sadness and beauty and wonder that morphed together into hope. It was clear to me that the good these young men and women were letting loose in that gym was the direct opposite of the evil let loose in Paris. That’s when I texted some close friends of mine, “I’m sitting here at a school orchestra performance realizing that beauty is a great antidote to terrorism.”
The scripture verse from Romans 12 keeps rolling around in my head this week. Certainly Jesus’ resurrection shows us that all of the evil and sin in human beings cannot defeat the love of Christ. In the rest of chapter 12, Paul emphasizes how the love Christians express to one another, and even to our enemies, overcomes (has victory over) evil. He contrasts what is evil and what is good, then directs followers of Jesus to defeat evil by overwhelming it with good.
It seems to me, then, that we Jesus followers are not to live as captives to fear or anger or hatred or vengeance. Certainly we will feel these emotions, and just as certainly, God gives us the grace not to allow them to dictate our lives. We are to fully invest our lives in doing good wherever we are in the name of the risen Christ.
So wherever you are, whatever you are doing, in the face of whatever evil in front of you, by the grace of God “hold fast to what is good” and “overcome evil with good” in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth.
Let me know how it’s going in your walk with Jesus. How can I pray for you?