Overcoming Evil

THOSE who are familiar with the four Gospels that relate the life story of Christ Jesus know Jesus as the supreme example of one who met and overcame all forms of evil. The Saviour healed sickness. He helped sinners to see the error of their ways, and to really turn their lives around. He even triumphed over death.

Jesus didn't think of such victories over evil as exclusive to him. His dedicated follower Paul sums up Jesus' universal message in a letter to the early Roman church, where he urges: ``Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good'' (12:21). By gaining more of the spiritual understanding of being that inspired Jesus, we can today overrule claims of evil with the increasing recognition and demonstration that God, divine good, is ever present and all-powerful.

I remember one of my first experiences of healing through Christ, Truth. I was alone in my apartment when I was suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of evil. It wasn't something I could trace to a definite cause; it seemed like a mysterious, mystical phenomenon. I had recently, however, been given a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. I ran to get it and began reading. This book explains Christ as God's eternal message to men of the supremacy of good. As I read from it and began to understand the allness of God, good, the foreboding atmosphere of evil vanished, never to return.

Not long afterward I was asked to share my apartment with young prisoners who had agreed to do community work as part of their sentence. I felt ready and willing to agree to this request. I was tempted, at first, to think that these individuals were evil and would bring fear into my home. But I realized that I had already seen proof that evil could not legitimately convince me of its reality. I was learning of the allness of God, good. I was beginning to comprehend the Bible truth that man is made in the image and likeness of God's goodness, and that evil, therefore, is as much a lie about man's nature as it is a lie about God's nature.

Over the next few months I had four such boarders. Only one of the four didn't make the most of his opportunity and was returned to prison. I did build up some rapport with the other three, and even visited one of them later in his hometown. My prayers to perceive these men as being God's children were answered in the clear recognition of such qualities as grace, kindness, warmth, and intelligence that I saw expressed in them.

Doing good is a vital part of winning freedom from past wrongs, but it isn't in and of itself enough to win pardon for crimes committed. Thought also has to be spiritualized to break free from the susceptibility to repeating previous misbehavior. Though we are not all criminals, to the degree that we have not yet relinquished worldly character traits each of us needs to be reformed by Christ. The Bible promises that God gives us the spiritual perception that illuminates our lives, eradicating wrong tendencies of thought and action. This is the regeneration and reformation that render evil's claims of reality powerless. As Mrs. Eddy explains in Science and Health ``Resisting evil, you overcome it and prove its nothingness'' (p. 446).

In truth, everything and everyone exists to show that God is good and that His allness is uninterruptedly expressed in man.

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