9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
With the violence that we have experienced and felt recently we need to uphold this passage. It is not time to fall into the trap of proclaiming fear is bigger than God. It is not time to leave behind all we know in fear. It is not time to be proclaiming that this is "the worst" it has ever been. Throughout history we as humanity have stood in the doorway of bad times and seen some pretty evil things. Throughout history we have at moments or two believed we were living in the "most" violent or "worst" of times and yet we have learned that there is more for the human story than we can imagine.
Let us also remember that throughout our Bible there are people/ places that must overcome in order to be. I am reminded of Jacob who wrestled with God at the river banks. There the two wrestled until Jacob's hip was hurt. This was on the eve of Jacob returning home to a land that he stole from his brother and to a brother he betrayed. He didn't know what he was going to face the next day, he didn't know what he was walking into and yet he did not let fear stop him. The injury he sustained from his wrestling with God he lived with forever. A clear reminder, but God blessed him on that river bank and offered him new life, new hope. Whatever or wherever our journey has lead us or leads us, the scars we pick up along the way stay with us; we can let them define us or we can move forward to new life and new happiness. We as humanity can and do reflect on the moments in our history where evil seemed to out weight good; and yet goodness has prevailed. We have come out with a scar or two, but we through strength and courage prevailed.
These moments when it feels that evil is taking over and we are wrestling with God over the big question "why?" Let us not fail to remember that for those who give into God's will; turn over the power to God and listen, great hope comes. That for those who listen to the wise words in Romans and do not let evil overcome their hearts but instead find ways to love faith prevails. Jacob after being wounded was blessed and when he encountered his brother later that day was embraced by love. A powerful example of good overcoming wrong doings and yet the physical limitation that plagued Jacob was a reminder to him of his flight. We might always remember 2016 as a time of loss and racial divide in this country; and France will certainty remember these horrible moments, as we remember 9/11; but that doesn't mean that all hope is lost. It doesn't mean that evil has taken over this world, nor should we let it.
Take the time today to do good. To allow God to move in your heart and soul. To overcome the hatred in your heart with love and most importantly to remove yourself from this moment in time to trust in the grandeur of creation, knowing and believing in good, in God.