Romans 12:21 – Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NIV)
It was nothing much really, just a smile and a wave. Yet, I'll never forget it. That hot day, we were driving through one of many construction zones on our trip. Traffic had been reduced to a single lane with long waits. My eye was drawn to one particular flagman. I watched him acknowledge each passing vehicle with a warm smile and a wave. I felt especially uplifted when we received our own personal wave.
Here was a flagman who used his mundane job assignment to bless drivers as they continued on their journey. He didn't need to do that. It was certainly not in his contract; there'd be no extra pay for this. It was simply who he was. Yet, what potential this had!
By uplifting passing drivers, this flagman had exercised his right to be who he was. That's one privilege of living in a free country. Here in North America, we are free to bless others as we wish to — even if it's just a smile and a wave.
However, that's not easy under repressive political regimes where the people are controlled through severe intimidation. Those folks can't smile. Life is too burdened with fear and suspicion. Furthermore, smiling could be risky. I once heard the testimony of a Christian who lived during Soviet communism. If they smiled at people, he noted, someone might suspect that they were Christians and report them. In such anti-God lands, Christians are among the few who can freely smile because they are not overcome by evil. In Christ, they know that they are set free by the power of love. They are free to overcome evil with good — like a subtle smile.
A smile and a wave are nothing much really; but for some, it could give away their identity and even cost them their lives. For those of us living in the land of freedom, such a possibility seems remote. Still, this reminder can renew our appreciation for small, ordinary gestures, specifically those which convey a big, extraordinary message, namely, "You matter!"
That's what every soul craves to know deep down — regardless of their life context.
Prayer: Dearest Lord, sensitize us to the power of those simple gestures of love, both in receiving them and in giving them. We give You the glory, for You are the ultimate source of love. Amen.
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