“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Overcome Evil,
by Randall D. Kittle

After my dad retired, he finally had the time to do some of the things he had always wanted to do but for which he never seemed to find the time. Besides completely reorganizing his workbench and tools and cataloging all of his old family photos, he decided to research and document the family tree. He wanted to do this while some of its “older branches” were still alive. The process was quite involved, but each fascinating, old tale he uncovered only caused me to become more interested in this historical adventure. Eventually, we traced the Kittle family tree back to 1410, to Graf von Ketel, a count in northern Germany.

The reason I’m sharing this is that I was amazed to discover that the description of the family crest included a family motto, which is
“Bono vince malum.” Translated from Latin this means: “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

This Biblical proclamation is interesting in the light of the “spiritual warfare” observed in much of the Church in our day. The response of many believers to the increasing evil of our times is to make loud proclamations — binding this, cursing that, while challenging and belittling Satan. John Paul Jackson refers to this type of spiritual warfare as
“throwing hatchets at the moon.” He also comments that this can not only be fruitless; it can be dangerous.

This “mode” of spiritual warfare reminds me of a friend of mine who years ago learned a lesson about this the hard way. As he returned to his hometown following a spiritual retreat, he rolled down his car windows and shouted, “Satan, you’d better watch out, I’m back in town!” Following this were a number of declarations mocking Satan and deriding his abilities. Let’s just say that the next week was a very different kind of “spiritual retreat” for him. Illness, slashed tires, and a myriad of other problems seemed to press in upon him from every side.

Now, I’m not saying we need to cower at the name of Satan. He is a defeated foe whom Jesus has vanquished. Jesus has given us authority to declare His invitation for the lost to be reconciled to God and empowered us to advance His kingdom. Yet according to Romans 12:21, when we face dark and desperate days of evil, we are not to
shout at Satan but show forth Jesus. We can best overcome the evil in our days simply by doing good!

When we return good for evil, we not only display the love of God on earth, we show others a glimpse of God. Our good works put the spotlight on God and bring Him glory.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). No wonder the Bible encourages “… His own special people” to be “... zealous for good works” (2 Timothy 2:14).

As soldiers of Christ, we oppose the darkness of the enemy’s onslaught not by deriding the darkness but by overwhelming it by the light of the good words we speak and the good deeds we do. So let us endeavor to heed the exhortation given in 1 Peter 2:12,
“… maintain good conduct among the non-christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when He appears.”

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