I’m trying to understand. Still.
How whole islands get wiped out by water and wind.
How earthquakes can so mercilessly swallow homes . . .and families . . .and happy times.
How a man can be seemingly normal and then do something very abnormal, like destroy loved ones with a barrage of bullets as well as ruin the lives of the loved ones they left behind.
How people can let issues on kneeling, or not kneeling, or love for health care reform, or love for Obamacare, or love for the left, or love for the right, or love for guns, or love for gun control, get priority over showing unconditional love for man.
I’ve cried a lot the last few weeks; maybe more than I ever have, over our world. Not only are we exploding, we are imploding; promoting way more division than unity. So besides asking the what the heck is going on question over and over, I also keep asking myself, what else can I do? Because I often feel helpless. And frustrated. Cause, see, no matter what myself and other good-meaning people do, (and by the way – there are lots of them), things just seem to be getting worse.
And yet . . .I still love this Scripture, believe in this Scripture, live by this Scripture:
“Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.”
Romans 12:21 MSG
I can honestly say that I’ve worked hard – and purposefully – at overcoming evil in this world by doing good. But this morning, as I stared at this verse, something else stood out, caught my attention, and pricked my soul . . .
Don’t let evil get the best of you.
Oh, man. How has evil gotten the best of me?
When I’ve focused on being right more than I have on relationship.
When I’ve fallen into cynicism as opposed to holding onto hopefulness.
When I’ve spewed negativity rather than inspired positivity.
When I’ve insisted on being listened to more than listening.
When I’ve focused on the worst of a person rather than the best.
When I’ve sought to be understood more than I have to understand.
When I’ve thrown my hands in the air instead of holding on to others.
When I’ve promoted argument instead of peace.
When I’ve put down instead of lifted up.
Given up instead of persevered.
Let go of instead of carried.
And I realize.
I can do good and still let evil get the best of me. Which then gets the best of you.
And I wonder . . .
Can the good I do be voided by the bad I do? Or at least, diminished by it? Diluted?
I say I want to do good – and my intentions might be right – but I wonder if the evil I often fall into ends up discrediting these good intentions. Like loving someone and then talking behind their back.
And I think . . .maybe my “good” would go a whole lot further if I got rid of the evil tagging along behind it. Maybe my actions will be more effective if they are clean and not tainted by ulterior motives and needing to be right. And that Scripture might work a little more effectively in this world if I heed to the whole of it – not just part of it. Then, maybe my small contributions will start enacting some real change in the world.
Oh, I know I can’t change the whole world.
But I can change mine.