I’m working on an article about overcoming evil with good. Sometimes to get my thoughts flowing, I just sit down and start typing whatever comes to mind. I have some thoughts I want to share, but I want these separate from the planned article so I can keep things on-point.
We are told to overcome evil with good, but how is that really possible?
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Does every evil have an equal and opposite good? I think we can assume so. We can assume that each decision in which the choice between right and wrong are in the balance, there is a choice that is perfectly right and one that is perfectly wrong. There are countless choices that are some place in between that perfect right and perfect wrong.
Since each action has an equal and opposite reaction, does perfect good and perfect evil neutralize one another? Does the meeting of the two create a kind of nothingness that is neither good nor evil?
Evil is the absence of that which is good. Good is the absence of that which is evil. When the two meat, what happens? Are we at a stalemate with our “knowledge of good and evil”?
What about death and life? Death is the ultimate evil in this world. Death seems stronger than life because all things die. If we look at this world with the understanding that each good action has an equal and opposite reaction, then life has the equal and opposite reaction of death. Who can escape it?
If things were just, we would all simply die. The entire creation would simply pass away into a state of neutral nothingness.
Jesus is life. Jesus has authority over death.
If we belong to Jesus, we are not a mere force of good that is easily canceled out by the evils of this world. We have the power of life on our side—supernatural life even. Life that is not equal to death, but stronger. When the goodness of the Lord is working in us and through us, our good reactions are powerful. Our love cancels out hate. Our peace cancels out fear. Our humility cancels our pride. Our faith cancels out unbelief.
Who can do what is perfectly right? Can we approach what is perfectly right with law? The perfect action varies from situation to situation because as circumstances vary, so does the equal and opposite response. Can law contain this? Of course not. That is why the letter kills but the Spirit makes alive. As we learn how to walk after the Spirit, we can get closer to doing that which is perfectly right. Perfect in love towards Jesus and others.
Learning to trust the Lord, learn His ways, and seek the Holy Spirit to lead us towards that perfect response is the blessed hope we have of our salvation. We are not to be canceled out by evil. We are to overcome evil with good by He who is Good. Jesus overcame the world so that we might also overcome the world. We should not neglect so great a salvation as this.
To be clear, this is not about earning salvation by attempting to tip the scale towards that which is good.
Any good thing in us comes from God. The goodness mentioned here is one that can only be attained as the Holy Spirit works. This is evidence of our salvation, not requirements of salvation. All things pertaining to life and godliness are given by grace through faith. It is grace that we would be able to overcome evil with good instead of simply passing away into nothingness. All life is unmerited favor (grace). By faith in Jesus, we receive such grace. We receive salvation. We bring forth fruits of the Spirit — the fruits of life.