"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." - Romans 12:21-
Last Saturday our country was reminded that we are not as tolerant as we like to believe. We are shocked by the images of white men and women marching with Nazi paraphernalia. We are horrified that someone felt the right to drive his car into a crowd of counter protesters killing Heather Heyer. After last Saturday, we can no longer deny the presence Americans who hold such a deep sense racism they feel justified hurting people who are of a different skin color or disagree with their beliefs.
In the midst of this hate, I am drawn to Paul's letter to the Romans where he reminds the church to "not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." I find Paul's instruction compelling during this time because my first desire when hearing of something that causes too much despair is to tune it out and ignore there is anything happening. But in doing so, I am letting this evil continue to exist. Even worse, I am allowing for it to grow.
Even though the recent boiling point of this hate that we can point to happened in Virginia, racism is not a sentiment that is only held within the borders of one state. There are people throughout our country who agree with the racist beliefs that were being so clearly defined on that day. Many of who identify as good Christians. People who are also members of the body of Christ.
When Paul instructs us to "overcome evil with good" he isn't just reminding us to do good by caring for those who are in need. He is instructing us to confront evil head on. To be bearers of goodness and truth to our enemies and also to our neighbors. This doesn't mean bringing our neighbors to our political side. It means bringing them to the truth of Christ’s love. We are called to act when those in the world around us are perpetuating acts of evil, instead of sitting on the sidelines because it is an uncomfortable conversation to have. Instead Paul tells us that we, especially those of us who are white, need to call out the evil of racism in our neighbors, and be bearers of the good that Christ offers the world. We are bearers of good news from a God who loves us to much he died for us, all of us. This is the light that we carry into the world on even the darkest of days.