'Don't let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.' Romans 12:21

People are at their worst when they treat each other as less than human, or box people off into categories of 'not really human'. We've all noticed it in society. Ignoring the elderly and shutting them in care homes, disregarding the homeless, prejudicing against other races and being carefree with the lives of unborn babies - it's all from the same root. When we notice that same attitude crop up in ourselves, it's easy to get disheartened.

Maybe we overlook the class weirdo, or don't make time for our neighbours when we meet them on the street. Maybe we even notice an uncomfortable tendency towards devaluing people through racism or homophobia in ourselves. Even though we know that prejudicing against others is wrong, a little bit can slip through the net here and there.

Firstly, there is forgiveness.

Secondly, that evil will always be present in this life, but we can defeat it.

God gives us the means to be genuinely decent and kind people. In the Bible, He says, 'Don't just pretend that you love others: really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of good. Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honouring each other... When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow...Don't try to act big. Don't try to get into the good graces of important people, but enjoy the company of ordinary folks. And don't think you know it all! Never pay back evil for evil.

Do things in such a way that everyone will see you are honest clear through. Don't quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible... never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for He has said that He will repay those who deserve it... Don't let evil get the upper hand but conquer evil by doing good' (Romans 12 v. 9:21 TLB).

What now? Does this sound passage sound like you? Read Romans 12 v. 9-21 in another Bible version, and see how your character measures up to it.

written by Bob Gass