by Eric M. Hamilton
"Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).
This is one of those profound statements in the Bible, that when it hit me, it hit me hard. On the surface, it seems a no brainer: Duh! Of course, you overcome evil with good!
But notice the first part. It doesn't say "Don't overcome evil with evil, but rather overcome evil with good." It instead tells you what the consequence of attempting to overcome evil with evil is: you don't overcome anything, you instead are overcome with evil.
There is a lot of desire to overcome evil in this world, and for good reason. There is a lot of evil to overcome. But the majority of us are attempting to overcome that evil with bitterness, jealousy, threats, violence, backbiting, false accusations, hatred, etc. You will not overcome the evil you are attempting to by such means. You will only find yourself overcome by evil... you already have been.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said (I'm certain, echoing the sentiment found in Romans):
"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."