Fourth of July; it reminds me of when I was a teenager my buddies and I used to drive around the courthouse square in the small town where we grew up and throw firecrackers out the car windows, a violation of local ordinance, daring the local law enforcement official (there was only one) to catch us, which he usually did. About the worst consequence we ever suffered was a verbal reprimand that went something like, “you boys aren’t suppose to be doing that.” We knew, of course, what we could get away with which after all was nothing more than a little teenage mischief, no real harm done.
What about real criminal acts, though, what causes people to do evil? I think it is my curiosity about that that has led me to become addicted to all the criminal investigation shows on television – all the CSI’s, NCIS’s, Criminal Minds, the Mentalist, Law and Order, the Closer, I watch them all. Why? Part of it is all the high-tech forensics they use in their investigations which is fascinating. Then too I enjoy cheering on the good guys to bring the bad guys to justice. But mostly I find these criminal investigation shows provide some insights about what causes people to do evil which usually has something to do with their being victims of evil themselves, or at least being deprived from experiencing goodness.
Unfortunately, the fiction we see on these shows represents a pretty accurate portrayal of real life, the solution to which falls on the shoulders of all of us, not just law enforcement professionals. And what is the solution? The Apostle Paul says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21). But is it possible to overcome evil with good? The group of buddies I meet with every Tuesday morning think so; for we meet specifically for the purpose of holding each other accountable for living a rule of life that includes having a relationship with God, increasing our knowledge of God, and then doing acts of goodness that positively impact others – that overcome evil with good.
I do still engage in a little mischief from time to time, but mischief is all it is, no real harm done. What I aspire to mostly is following in the footsteps of my Tuesday morning buddies – and the Apostle Paul – who believe evil can be overcome with good. I think they’re right. I’ve seen the results of their actions.