Do not be overcome by evil… Romans 12:21
The fact that God says, “Do not be overcome by evil” shows the real possibility that this is something that can and does happen. What would it look like for a person to be “overcome by evil”?
1) Here is a person who fills her mind and heart with the drip-feed fear-mongering of the news channels. It is always on in her house, and over time, she becomes weighed down with all the evil in the world. She is gripped with fear, and gradually she loses her peace and joy.
2) Here is a student on a sports team. Teammates are pursuing very different lifestyles from what he learned at home, and he feels pressure to conform. He goes to the parties; he tries the drugs; he experiments with sex. What is that but to be overcome by evil?
If you have suffered a great evil in your life, you know that the toughest challenge you face is to make sure that it does not overcome you. How easy it would be for you to live off hatred toward the person who hurt you and never really be at peace, or to let the wounds of your life define you so that you lose your confidence, peace, and joy.
Being overcome by evil can happen to disciples of Jesus. It is not beyond us to say, “Fight fire with fire!” James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven on the enemies of Jesus. What is that but to be overcome by evil? But there is another possibility: Overcome evil with good.
Where do you feel most vulnerable to being overcome by evil right now?