Most people would agree that life is a painful mixture of good and bad. It’s true in marriage, friendship, family, work, and church. Yet we are surprised and disappointed when self-centeredness takes the stage within a fellowship of those who seek to worship and serve Christ together.
When the apostle John wrote to his friend Gaius, he commended the truthful living and generous hospitality of those in his church (3 John 1:3-8). In the same fellowship, however, Diotrephes, “who wants to be head of everything” (v.9 Phillips), had created an atmosphere of hostility.
John promised to deal personally with Diotrephes on his next visit to the church. In the meantime, he urged the congregation: “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God” (v.11). John’s words echo the instruction of Paul to the Christians in Rome: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
In a heated conflict, we may be tempted to “fight fire with fire.” Yet John urges us to turn away from what is bad and follow what is good. This is the pathway that honors our Savior.
As light overcomes darkness, goodness can overcome evil. (RBC)