Do Not Be Overcome by Evil

Jeremiah 15:15-21
Psalm 26:1-8
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28


Human cultures have different ways of dealing with honor, shame, weakness, strength, and many other aberrations. In WWII, Americans captured by the Japanese were treated (or mistreated) horribly because of the Japanese belief that no soldier should ever give up. They considered those who surrendered to be worse than animals.

Nazis believed that honor only came from force. Torture was used to gain information because brute force was the only way to accomplish one’s goals.

Christians have a whole new set of definitions for every world culture. Honor is gained by loving. Strength is gained by being weak. The only shame is not repenting when we realize we are not following God.

Commenting on the Jeremiah reading, Origen wrote (c. 200): If the athlete avoids what is troublesome about the contest, the sweetness of the crown will never be hisACCS If we are loyal to God, if we are doing what He asks of us, if His Kingdom is our only concern, then we will be considered by the world to be weak and shameful.

With Jeremiah, we must pray that God will say to us,

If you repent, I shall restore you

To plead before me.

If you distinguish between the precious and the base,

You shall be as my own mouthNJB


Sadly, in the past seventy years, Americans have become more willing to mistreat prisoners and to depend on brute force to accomplish our goals. As a culture, we have little concern for other nations as long as the US gets its way.

That plays out in our individual lives as well. We seek jobs that come with the status we believe we are entitled to have. We are unwilling to associate with people who cannot help us get what we want. We will always have the poor with us. Besides, they are poor through their own choices. We are not giving up what we have to help them.

Read my comments on these NT readings here.


Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

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