Tuesday, October 3, 2017

When Evil Abounds but Love is Greater

Sunday night in Las Vegas brought more shootings. More death. More destruction. More evil. More tears. More grief.

Hate and violence abound in this broken world, and they are relentless. It's easy to be overwhelmed. I'm reminded this morning, however, that Romans 12:21 cautions us against this very thing. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Rom.12:21) 

We saw Romans 12:21 in action yesterday after the shooting, and it was beautiful. People piled wounded into the back of trucks to carry them to the hospital when there weren't enough ambulances. Men covered women with their bodies to protect them. Law enforcement officials willingly confronted the relentless shooter in order to stop the killing. One person after another helped  in the midst of the tragedy.

A news person last night suggested we stop making a timeline of terror and start making a timeline of heroes, those men and women who rise above the occasion to do good. Great evil has been done, but this time, we also have heroes to celebrate. This time, we can, indeed, celebrate the overcoming of evil, rather than its triumph. 

There are times when President Trump's speeches seem a little awkward and oddly spoken to me, but yesterday wasn't one of them. I've listened to his remarks after the shooting several times, and I'm still surprised we haven't embraced his sweet words. I haven't included all of the remarks, but a limited transcript is here. I'm not sure I can express my thoughts any more succinctly:

"My fellow Americans... 

"To the families of the victims, we are praying for you, and we are here for you, and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period. 

"Scripture teaches us that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words, for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve. 

"To the wounded who are are now recovering in hospitals, we are praying for your full and speedy recovery and pledge to you our support from this day forward....

"In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one, and it always has. We call upon the bonds that unite us: our faith, our family, and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, the comfort of our common humanity. 

"Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, bonds cannot be broken by violence, and though we feel such anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today, and always will, forever. 

"In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easily, but we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light, and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope

Melania and I are praying for every American who has been wounded or lost the ones they loved so dearly in this terrible, terrible attack. We pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace, and we pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred and from fear...May God give us the grace of healing, and may God provide the grieving families with strength to carry on."

"It is love that defines us today, and always will" is exactly what Jesus taught. The commands of God can be summed up in one word: LOVE. Love for God. Love for others. Our love gives evidence of the God we serve.

Most of us cannot be in Las Vegas to comfort those who mourn, to provide physical care to the wounded. We can, however, still do something that makes a difference. Love where we are. Be the light in the darkness. Offer hope to those in despair. 

We don't fight hate and evil with anger. We fight with love. Rise up, love-warriors and demonstrate the love our Jesus first showed us. There will be someone in our paths today who is desperate for the love of Christ. Be sure to pass it on.

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Rom.12:21)
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: When What We Say and What We Do Don't Line Up

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