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August 29, 2020

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

“Don’t read the comments.” That’s rule number one for staying sane while surfing the internet. Sadly, it’s a rule I’ve broken a few times during the past week. I’ll be reading a story about the killings in Kenosha, or professional athletes engaging in wildcat strikes, or the upcoming presidential election. When I get to the end of the article, instead of moving on, my brain says, “I wonder what people have to say about this.” And I read the comments. If you want to be reminded that there is evil in the world, read the comments.

I don’t mean that people post things with which I disagree. That’s fine. Doubtless I’m wrong about a few things, too. We can all learn from dialogue. Always.

What I mean is that, on the Wild West that is internet comment boards, people behave horribly. It’s evil. You don’t even need to search for it. People loudly insist that all Black people are criminals; that any and all police violence is justified; that athletes are all entitled, whiny crybabies; on and on it goes, right up to and beyond the QAnon nonsense that is popping up everywhere these days.

Our reading from Romans tomorrow is a call to harmony, but not a call to pretend everything is okay. Neither is it an argument that all points of view are equally valid. This is God’s world, and there is something called the good. In rebellion, there is evil. As people of God, we need to take sides. Not without humility. Not by using the tactics of evil. Not by engaging in pointless warfare in the comments section. Rather, we do so by living with love, showing that it is the still more excellent way.

Evil isn’t going away any time soon. Let our love stay strong. As Dr. King reminds us, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Don’t read the comments. Do be well, friends. You are loved.

God of love, you call us love what is genuine and hate what is evil. Help us to rejoice in hope and to be patient in suffering. We pray for those who persecute your people, that you would soften their hearts and turn them to you. We pray the same for ourselves. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: A meme that reads, “Keep Calm and Don’t Read the Comments.” From the Facebook group, “Don’t Read the Comments.”

From → COVID-19

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