Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Have you ever been really disappointed? I mean REALLY disappointed? Have you ever had something go so terribly wrong that you began to question the things you hold dear, and with that, even question God? You know like, “Why would you let this happen, Lord, if …?” I’ve certainly been in that place myself.
The truth is that, this side of Heaven, we may never know why some things happen. But one thing we can know for sure is that God is our loving Heavenly Father who cares deeply about us, our pains, and our hurts.
How did Jesus respond to great disappointment? Okay, I can hear the argument now, “But He was Jesus!” Yes, He was, but scripture tells us He set aside His Godly power and ability and took upon Himself the form of man. Everything He did, He did as a man empowered by the Holy Spirit. And as a man, He felt every kind of disappointment just like we do. So with that said, just how did Jesus respond to one of the greatest disappointments of His life?
It happened when His beloved cousin was murdered at the hands of Herod, the then Roman appointed ruler over Judea. Herod had John the Baptist beheaded at the request of his wife. Matthew 14:13-21 shows us just how Jesus reacted to the news.
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
In these verses we can see that, when hearing devastating and disappointing news and feeling all of the same emotions that we do, Jesus did five things.
- He got alone. He didn’t just get alone to be by himself. No, he had proven time and again that, along with the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus received great strength and power by spending time alone with His Heavenly Father. When we are disappointed, let’s not run from the Father, but to Him. There we will find great comfort and strength just as Jesus did.
- He had compassion. Although the pain was great and real, Jesus didn’t lose His compassion for people. He made the choice to keep on loving even in the face of such an awful situation. He didn’t allow himself to become hard and bitter.
- He still healed. He didn’t allow His disappointment to take away from the truth He knew: that His Father was a good, good Father and wanted to heal. Jesus didn’t “throw in the towel” based on the current circumstance, but rather, continued to believe it was the Father’s will to heal.
- He still found something to be thankful for. When the five loaves and two fish were brought to Him, He gave thanks for it, and out of that thanks, the Father multiplied it in a miraculous way. When we find a way to be thankful, even in the face of great disappointment, God will multiply it as well.
- He still did good. Jesus took that little portion of bread and fish and blessed it and over five thousand people were fed. When we respond in this same way, even when life hands us a plate full of tragedy and disappointment, the Father will use it to feed others.
So today, regardless of the circumstance or disappointment, let’s choose to overcome evil with good, just like Jesus.