Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21).
I love science fiction and fantasy. I love it because it takes me away from the problems in the real world to a world where humanity works to fight and ultimately conquer evil. What's so great about science fiction and fantasy is that the evil guys never understand what motivates the good guys. In the end, love conquers all whether the outcome is happy or tragic for the good guys. What's so great about this genre is that it recognizes that love is THE conqueror. It is the one thing that destroys evil once and for all.
To me, this sounds a lot like God. If anything, science fiction writers are influenced by the forces that motivate them in their lives. Their fondest wish is to see a world in which humanity lives as one body. The outcome of their stories is that love always conquers all.
For me, this is very reminiscent of the quote that began this essay. As humans, we are inherently good and strive to remain that way. Evil is a lack of a conscience-not caring about the consequences of one's actions. It's having a soul and knowing the difference between right and wrong but indifferent to either. Good is having a soul and knowing the difference between right and wrong and hearing the pain that is out there.
Not everyone can see the pain and heal it. It is very difficult to run off to Darfour in the Sudan and feed every single starving child there. However, it is not difficult to pray for those who are starving and to pray for those who withhold the food and aid to change their ways or suffer God's wrath. We do what we can with this life that God has given us. Some of us work to alleviate suffering. Some of us marry and raise a family, hoping and praying that our children will be happier in their lives and therefore more willing to make a world with no hatred and evil in it.
No matter who we are, God has given us a talent that He expects us to use in a good way. The term "using our powers for good" is not as amusing as it sounds. We may not have "Spidey-powers" but God has given us power to live our lives the way we should live them. He's given us the power of Love. With His love guiding us in our lives, we are capable of everything and that includes overcoming evil. Through His love we learn to love. Even though we cannot understand how much He loves us, we feel enough of it to revel in it and pass it along to others: our families, friends, neighbors and yes, even to our enemies. For if we love our enemies and pray for their well-being, we are overcoming evil the way we're meant to overcome evil.
Everyday we strive to do this and yet we feel deflated when trains are blown up by suicide bombers. Yes, we should get angry and then mourn those who died in these attacks but then we should go the extra step and pray for the suicide bombers and their "managers" so that they can see the wrong that they've done.
All God has ever asked of us is to "live at peace with everyone," (Rom 12: 18) and to "live in harmony with one another." (Rom 12:16). I don't think that's too much to ask of us. Do you?
Lia Lewis graduated from Holy Cross Orthodox Seminary in Brookline, MA in 2001 with a Masters of Divinity degree.
She works for the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.