Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
Influenced by parents who were strong believers in Jesus, track star Jesse Owens lived as a courageous man of faith. During the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Owens, one of the few African Americans on the US team, received four gold medals in the presence of hate-filled Nazis and their leader, Hitler. He also befriended fellow athlete Luz Long, a German. Surrounded by Nazi propaganda, Owens’s simple act of living out his faith impacted Luz’s life. Later, Long wrote to Owens: “That hour in Berlin when I first spoke to you, when you had your knee upon the ground, I knew you were in prayer . . . . I think I might believe in God.”
Owens demonstrated how believers can answer the apostle Paul’s charge to “hate what is evil” and be “devoted to one another in love” (Romans 12:9–10). Though he could have responded to the evil around him with hate, Owens chose to live by faith and show love to a man who would later become his friend and eventually consider belief in God.
As God’s people commit to being “faithful in prayer” (v. 12), He empowers us to “live in harmony with one another” (v. 16).
When we depend on prayer, we can commit to living out our faith and loving all who are made in God’s image. As we cry out to God, He’ll help us break down barriers and build bridges of peace with our neighbors.
Reflect & Pray
How can you build a bridge of peace between you and a neighbor? When have you seen your faithfulness in prayer bear fruit?
Heavenly Father, please strengthen us to come together in prayer, fully committed to loving others and living peacefully.