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Reflections

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August 2016 - Overcoming Evil With Good.

Last Thursday, 14th July, the people of France were victims of yet another terrorist attack, the third in about a year. One deranged man drove a truck down the beautiful Promenades des Anglais in Nice, deliberately running over as many people as possible, leaving 84 dead and over 50 injured, before being shot dead himself. This is one of many outrages, some of which we have experienced in our country. As have people in so many other countries - for instance in Iraq, where there is carnage almost daily.

What meaningful response can we, and other people of goodwill, make to this mindless hate, this indiscriminate violence? We feel baffled about the motives of the perpetrators, anger at the slaughter of innocent people; we feel helpless and vulnerable and we want, somehow, to put an end to this terrible activity which threatens us all.

We must defend ourselves and others - yes - but we must avoid responding to evil with evil. We need the firm, dogged determination to build a better, fairer world order, in which everyone can share the earth's resources and none is excluded, where there are no disaffected minorities, but where everyone is valued and their voices heard - where justice is upheld but violence rejected. All people of goodwill want this.

For Christians the perfect example is Jesus Christ, who refused to meet evil with evil, who prayed for his murderers and who taught us all to love our enemies. This is not a soft option, avoiding the issues, but rather the deliberate act of the will to reach out to all others, regardless of their attitude to us, and go the way of compassion and care, rather than hatred and violence. It is very hard to live like this, but it is the only way that really leads to justice and peace. St Paul wrote,

'Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'
(Romans 12 : 21)

Andrew

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