Monday, January 24, 2022

Good is the greater power

by CAROL SHIRK KNAPP Contributing Writer
| January 12, 2022 1:00 AM

Anybody have a problem person in their lives? That's a universal question — because most can probably name more than one. And while I'm naming them those same people are likely naming me.

I was reading this morning in my go-to book for wisdom — the Bible — about getting along with others. And more than that, loving others.

Here is the “easy” stuff I read, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.” And, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

The reason God calls “whoa” on personal payback is that He says He will repay. That might not feel near as good in the moment as taking action myself, but it ultimately saves me from something God calls having “a heart of stone.” Every act of revenge, however small, closes off my ability to love.

God will repay? How does that happen? One guarantee is that God repays justly. There is nothing He misses. He says, “I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things.” When I see things that are not this, then I know it is not God.

What about being at peace with all people? It sounds like “if possible” gives some wiggle room. But then I bump up against “so far as it depends on me.”

I don't think that needs much explaining. I know in my own life the things that make for peace and the things that don’t; what is said, how it is said, what’s done, how it is done.

This Bible passage is urging transformation — one that seeks to live peaceably, and doesn't answer wrong with wrong. In fact, the close of the chapter says just that “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Good is the greater power. It is God's way — and I'm spending a lifetime learning. The reward is the heart I get to live with — not stone, but more like a garden. Green even in January's snows.

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