Devotional: June 23, 2021
Friend, don’t go along with evil. Model the good. The person who does good does God’s work. The person who does evil falsifies God, doesn’t know the first thing about God.
3rd John 1: 11 The Message
This third letter of John is very brief: it has only fourteen verses. Yet embedded within these few verses is this gem on good and evil.
John urges two strategies when it comes to evil. The first is to not condone it, or accommodate it. “Friend, don’t go along with evil.” These are good words for all of us. When evil persists, it can begin to multiply, precisely because people allow it to do so. It seems to have a domino effect. I once read the autobiography of a master burglar. He observed that many people would not steal from others themselves, but would be happy to give him tips on where and when he could burglarize some residences or businesses. If one is not actually doing the wrong thing, but contributing to the wrong, they are still doing evil. That is sin.
The other strategy to combat evil is to model the good. This instruction aligns with Jesus’ command to “let your light shine before all people, so that they may see your good works, and give glory to God.” (Matthew 5:16). Truly, the best way to fight evil is to present an alternative, by seeking and doing what is good. Leading by example.
John is crystal clear about good and evil. God is good, and whoever does evil falsifies God, and therefore works against Him. Sometimes, our culture likes to confuse this issue. As Christians, we still make mistakes. We are not perfect, and never will be. However, we are forgiven when we confess our sin and ask for forgiveness.
The problem is that when we as Christians do make a mistake, others cry “hypocrisy”. Often the false assumption is made that since “good Christians” do bad things, good and bad are all the same. Wrong! Even many who fall into sin will not deny that it is not good. That is why we must stay steadfast and true to the instructions in this scripture. God is always on the side of the good. Therefore, let us “model the good!”
We hear many voices in our culture telling us to look the other way when it comes to evil, or even to change in order to accommodate it. However, I know that we must listen to Your voice, which always encourages us to turn away from evil, and towards the good. Help me to follow the narrow path of listening to You, above every other voice. Help me to model the good, becoming a beacon of light in our confused culture. I pray this prayer in the name of Your Son, who is the Light of the World. Amen.