Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Titus 3 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2 to slander no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing every consideration for all people. 3 For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we did in righteousness, but in accordance with His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He richly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This statement is trustworthy; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and beneficial for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are useless and worthless. 10 Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a person has deviated from what is right and is sinning, being self-condemned.
12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them. 14 Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unproductive.
15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all.
Today’s text begins saying: Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to slander no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing every consideration for all people. In Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus says: “Do not judge, so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye!” We should neither judge nor slander anyone. We should be considerate not contentious. We should make every effort to remind ourselves that every other person was also created in the image and likeness of God.
The text also says though: Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person has deviated from what is right and is sinning, being self-condemned. So, while we are not to judge others or be contentious, we are not to tolerate or embrace their efforts to be divisive or contentious. In this case then, there are many in our society that we should reject, even some of those who are the authorities we are subject to. We are to warn them first and then even if we reject their actions, we should continue to pray for them. In Matthew 5:44 Jesus says: “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” In Matthew 7:6 Jesus says: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” In Matthew 13:45 Jesus says: “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold everything that he had and bought it.” We are to warn people when they deviate from what is right, but we should not continue to allow the precious kingdom of heaven to be trampled under their feet.
In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus says: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” So, while we should not judge people, we should know them by their fruits. Nothing that is based in a lie will become the truth no matter how often it is repeated. Nothing that is founded in darkness will become light, and what is evil will not result in good. Nothing that deviates form God’s word can be considered His will. Still Romans 12:21 says: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. If we return evil for evil, if we engage with the powers of darkness in the darkness, we will be overcome by evil and darkness. Instead, in Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” In the text, Paul says: Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unproductive.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Grace be with you all. Amen.