Saturday, December 15, 2012

Overcoming Evil With Good

God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well...

This morning I woke up with a depressed feeling.  As I remembered the horrific tragedy of those who lost their lives in a Connecticut elementary school, my heart was broken and angry.  The unspeakable evil that invaded a classroom of children is something I don't want to believe actually happened.  But sadly, it did, and this isn't the first time human beings have terrorized others, and it won't be the last.  I didn't want to get out of bed.  'What's the point of going on in this evil world?' I thought.  I'm so sick of evil, tragedy, and seeing others having to endure such horror and pain.

But as I was lying there, I began to think about what I had to do today.  What did I have to get up for?  Yes, this world is plagued by evil every day, but there is also a lot of goodness: many blessings in my life to live for, many ways to bless others and bring goodness to their hearts and lives.

In the Bible, Paul tells us the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  God has given us His Spirit to possess these qualities of the heart that bring a lot of goodness to this world.  Against such things there is no law, he says.  This fruit of the heart not only exists, but it can abound in us.

I thought about what I had to do today: care for my children and have a lazy Saturday with them--they need that. I needed it, and the opportunity was before me.  I also had some "work" to do.  I have a new book coming out I needed to print.  This is not really work for me.  It's a joy--an opportunity to use the gifts God has given me to teach, encourage, and inspire others.  I needed to add the new book to my website for those who are waiting for its release, and I needed to make copies for those I gift books to this time of year.

And I had a blog to write to remind myself of the good God has given me to do and to remind you of the good you can do for the children and adults you care for, help, teach, comfort, and bring happiness.  Paul tells us to not grow weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give we have opportunity let us do good to all people. (Gal. 6:9-10)

In his letter to the Roman Christians, people who were no strangers to the evil of their generation, he said, God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.  So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you.  If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well.  If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching.  If your gift is to encourage others, do it!  If you have money, share it generously.  If God has given you leadership ability, take it seriously.  And if you have a gift of sharing kindness to others, do it gladly.  Don't just pretend you love others.  Really love them.  Hate what is wrong.  Stand on the side of good.  Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.  Be glad for all God is planning for you.  Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.  When God's children are in need, be the one to help them out. (Rom. 12: 6-13 NLT)

So I got up today, and I was a mom.  I also printed and bound books for those I know will be blessed by the story and message of hope, seeking God's best, living in His presence, receiving His love, and living in a way that will bring blessings to their lives.  I prayed for those who are hurting today.  I thanked those who had blessed me in a specific way.  I let a gentleman go ahead of me in line at the grocery store because he seemed to be in a hurry.

I cannot do anything to change the events of yesterday, nor the evils that will likely take place tomorrow, but I did the good I can do today.  I pray you will do the same however you have the opportunity to do so.  In your home, community, church, local school, and however far your world goes.  God has given you His Spirit for that purpose.  Those who died in that school did not live in vain.  Those children brought a lot of goodness to this world during their short time here: to their families, teachers, and classmates.  The teachers and other school workers were doing what they had been called to do in making a difference in the lives of children and in many other ways we may never hear about.  We can honor their memory by doing the same.  We can live today and bring goodness to those around us.  And we can do it well.

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