Amos 5:14 – Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. (KJV)
Romans 12:21 – Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (KJV)
Several years ago on a sunny summer afternoon, a few friends and I were walking along the waterfront, enjoying the sights and sounds. There were all kinds of activities going on: kids playing in the playground, seniors sitting on benches, artists plying their trade, couples sauntering hand in hand, families with strollers and toddlers in tow. The walkway encompassed a little lagoon with a semi-circular sandy beach which lay between where we were and the other side of the park. The atmosphere was soft and serene.
Suddenly, some sort of commotion erupted across the lagoon. Noises seemed to come from a group of people, two of whom were on a bike. Almost faster than our eyes could follow or our minds take in, a young person dressed completely in black and hunched up on his bike, with a most heinous look on his face, swore profusely and spat as he whizzed past us.
A feeling of absolute fear, revulsion, and then sorrow swept over us. Fear of what a person such as he might do to someone. Fear of the anger and hatred that showed so starkly in his eyes, contorting his face and body. Revulsion in the swearing and spitting that confronted us. Sorrow that someone could experience and emit such strong emotions — especially someone so young.
We didn't admonish him, not that we had time to, but we didn't call after or bring further attention to him either. There wasn't anywhere nearby to report him, but neither did we cower nor leave the park.
What this encounter did, for me at least, was to lead me to say a silent prayer for him, and we were each thankful that we didn't have that kind of hatred in our hearts. In other words, we didn't let the evil that evidently lived in him overcome us. We focused on the goodness that comes when people live with the love of the Lord in their hearts.
From time to time in our lives, we may be faced with situations which are unpleasant or challenging and which threaten to weaken the strength of our faith. We are given these instances to focus on the goodness of the Lord, which will help us not to be overcome by evil.
Prayer: Keep us strong when we are faced with unpleasant situations, Lord. May our knowing You so shine in the midst of those who do not. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.