9-11. Those numbers conjure up specific memories and deep emotions for those who are old enough to remember that day. It was one of the most tragic days our country has ever faced.
In the days after the terrorist attack reactions were varied. Some were not so good. One warning was made that might have been lost over the years. A warning that would be good to remember: “evil in this world begets more evil.”
By sharp contrast, Paul wrote to the Romans, “Overcome evil with good.” This is contrary to our human nature when evil is done to us. The human instinct is to respond with evil. The result is that evil triumphs. In the case of 9-11, if we respond to the terrorist attacks with evil, the terrorists win. But the Gospel tells us to respond to evil with good.
Chuck Colson tells a powerful story of this principle embodied in a Catholic priest in Poland — Father Popieluszko.
In the early 1980s of communist Poland, the pale, gaunt priest had a twofold message: defend the truth and overcome evil with good. People responded and overflowed his church. The secret police followed him everywhere. He began to receive threats. And finally, one night after celebrating mass and preaching, the Father disappeared. About 10 days later, as 50,000 people came to mass to listen to a tape of his last sermon, they heard that his body had been found in the Vistula River, badly mutilated by torture.
The secret police braced for an uprising. But on the day of the Father’s funeral, the huge crowd that walked past their headquarters bore a banner and shouted what it said: “We forgive, we forgive!” He taught them well.
Only Christians, men, and women who are touched by and understand the present reality of the Cross, can possibly overcome evil with good. And if we don’t, rage and anger will carry the day and the terrorists will have won.
On the 20th anniversary of 9-11, this story of good overcoming evil is one to remember. It can inspire us to do the same in our everyday lives. As circumstances cause anger to rise, it is a great test for Christians. Can we live by the Gospel? Will we love our neighbors…even those who look or sound or seem like those who so ruthlessly attacked us?
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21
Do you have something you would like to share with our membership to spiritually edify and encourage living out our faith in practice? Email Bryan@cosw.org and let us know!