Do No Evil
Open Your Bible
1 Peter 3:8-22, John 15:18-21, Galatians 3:23-29
BY Erin Davis
The year was 1967. Crowds had gathered outside the Pentagon to protest the ongoing Vietnam War. Members of the 503rd Military Police Battalion formed a semi-circle and pointed their rifles toward the protestors. It was a tense moment, in a tense era, in a tense world.
But then hope seemed to break right through the moment, as a young man stepped forward to place carnations inside the officers’ barrels. American photographer, Bernie Boston, captured the moment in a shot entitled, “Flower Power.” The photograph moved the nation so profoundly, it earned Boston a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize, and the ethos of an entire generation was captured and preserved.
Whatever your political beliefs, as Christ’s followers, we’ve been given clear marching orders to protest the evil so prevalent in our world. We don’t fight with rebel fists, clenched in rage. Our assignment is to do good, to combat evil with righteousness, darkness with light, lies with truth, hatred with love.
Though it sounds warm and fuzzy, we cannot expect the world to respond to us with heart eyes. Jesus Himself warned us that they would instead take up arms against us.
“If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world,
but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you” (John 15:18–19).
This battle is not new. There is no bait and switch. Jesus is clear: we will offer love and receive something else in return. Our good deeds may fall on deaf ears, or worse, turn others against us. Knowing this to be true from his own experience, Peter sought to encourage believers who faced suffering for the sake of the gospel. He told them, “It is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:17).
Because of Christ, we are free to face such reactions from the world without the element of surprise. As in all things, Christ goes before us. He absorbed insults for His wisdom, betrayal for His faithfulness, and lashings for His love. Because of Him, we can bless when we are cursed, do good when others seek to harm us, and love when we are hated. We stand ready with hope, in a dark world that needs hope so desperately.
May we follow the example of our humble Savior, Church. May our hope in Jesus prepare our hearts for the battles we may face because of our love for Him. Let the world hurl their worst in our direction. Because of Jesus, we stand ready, eager to see hope break through.
But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Yet do this with
gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15–16).