Do not be overcome by evil. To overcome means to defeat. Thus, in this verse, it says do not be defeated by evil. Evil, on the other hand, pertains to immorality and wickedness. The world is full of evil. Spend one seating in front of your television and watch the news. You realize you are having mixed emotions while keeping yourself abreast with the latest happenings in the world. You may feel sad, angry, frustrated, worried, anxious, nervous, and other negative emotions the news can stir up. Why? Injustice and evil are so rampant. You hear of incest and rape even in kids. You hear of theft and murder. You hear of graft and corruption. You hear of violence and other crimes. You hear of racism and terrorism. Bullying, cybercrime, and judgemental criticism become more prevalent now. It is an evil world. At one time or another, even in the micro level or in our own personal lives, we experience evil from our neighbors in the community, from our co-workers in the workplace, and from other people around us. But we are commanded not to be defeated by evil. As God’s people, we are to overcome evil. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”– 1 John 5:4. We need not worry, though, because if we are in Jesus Christ, we overcome the world.
Overcome evil with good. When evil pounds its fist on us, our initial reaction would be anger and retaliation. Much like what Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. “ – Matthew 5:38-42. Jesus is teaching us that when we are confronted by evil, do what is good. Of course, it is not also an implication that we tolerate people to treat us badly or to abuse us. We can oppose but we speak the truth in love, disagree with respect, and act according to justice and love. So how do we overcome evil? As God’s people we overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Remember, goodness is one of the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”. – Galatians 5:22-23. Since we are in Christ, we are to walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). And one of the characteristics of a person who walk by the Spirit is goodness. Doing good even in times of evil is the way to overcome evil. Indeed, we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ who loved us (Romans 8:37).