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Overcome evil with good

There is a lot going on today to make us feel uncertain, afraid or negative. Almost anywhere you turn, there seems to be nothing but bad news. That can spill over into our personal and family lives, too, making things even worse.


We can either give in to the pull downwards or we can work against it. I suppose there is good news on the TV, too, now and again! But there are other ways of discovering the positive things that are going on. For example, we can share with others anecdotes or stories about good things in our own lives or in the lives of others. It might even just be something nice that has happened to us during the day: an act of kindness shown to us, an unexpected compliment, a friendly smile from a stranger.


It’s not a matter of denying the awful things that are going on just now, but of not letting them set the tone of our day or night. What’s negative has a habit of grabbing all the attention. If we listen to it for long enough, without also remembering the good things going on, we can easily become discouraged and depressed. The truth is, though, that there is so much to be thankful for, so much love around, so much courage and self-sacrifice being exercised quietly and perseveringly by so many people around us.


It’s always a delight to see how parents and teachers make such efforts to be positive and encouraging with children. It’s so heart-warming to see a child’s face light up with joy when an adult praises him or expresses amazement at something she has done. Maybe we adults need to start doing more of that for one another. Maybe we can replace a criticism with a word of compassion, a complaint with a word of affirmation, a readiness to argue with a readiness to give way, a scowl with a smile. That requires effort and resolve, of course. So be it!


St. Paul gives some great advice on how to overcome negative thinking, and what a difference it would make if we all took it: “my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honourable … and the God who gives us peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

Fr. Peter

Originally published in the Largs and Millport Weekly News, 2.11.22