I try not to watch the (bad) news on television at night. In the morning, once I’ve seen the weather and traffic reports, I used to switch the TV channel to ESPN to watch Sportscenter. But now, thanks to dumb athletes, that’s no longer safe. Social media (I’m a Facebook guy) is a cesspool of negativity some days, so I have to be careful about my time there. Even watching movies can be a soul-sucking experience with the proliferation of “flawed heroes” exploring their dark side. It’s really hard to get away from evil these days. Maybe it’s always been like this. Maybe our ancestors skipped the evening campfire sometimes because the grapevine bore only rotten fruit. Regardless, I find myself on an increasingly difficult quest to avoid evil these days, or as they say in church “these last and evil days”.
I learned years ago that the things I watch, read, and listen to influence how I feel and what I do. Back in the day, listening to Public Enemy made me angry – an anger that lurked just beneath the surface of my demeanor when I went to work. That anger affected how I reacted to anyone who didn’t share my ethnic heritage. And on a lighter note, my wife still isn’t surprised when a curse word “slips from my tongue” after watching a profanity-laced movie. So I’ve learned to manage my intake of carnal entertainment. What’s getting harder is the reality evil that is seemingly so prevalent. It’s the Ferguson riots, the Ray Rice controversies, and the black crime drumbeats that are collectively weighing down my soul. I’m in search of an answer that I already have.
The Apostle Paul articulated a very simple principle that directly answers the question. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21) This scripture encourages me – and hopefully you too – that overcoming evil really isn’t as hard as it seems. The key to overcoming evil is to focus on doing good. The more good we do, the better we feel. The more time we spend helping others, building ourselves, and focusing on positive things, the less the evil affects us. And most important, the more good we do for others, particularly those less fortunate, we counteract the force and effects of evil in this world.