Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Overcoming Evil With Good
Texts: Romans 12, 13
December 23, 2017
It’s not always easy to fight the good fight. We’ll need to wait a bit longer to find out whether more than two millennia of scientists—from Aristotle and Ferdinand Magellan, to Neil deGrasse Tyson and John Glenn—have been wrong about the shape of the Earth. “Mad” Mike Hughes, a self-proclaimed flat-Earther, delayed his plan to launch himself 1,800 feet high in a homemade rocket on November 25. The launch, a first step toward photographing our disc-world from space, got the axe when the BLM got wind of the plan and barred him from using public land.
Also, Hughes’ rocket launcher (built out of a used motor home) “broke down in the driveway.” He fixed the launcher, but the matter of federal permission proved a more serious snag. Still, Hughes has not relented in his quest to launch himself roughly 500 mph on a mile-long flight across the sky above the Mojave Desert. He found private property near his original launch site, where he anticipates taking off soon. This launch would not be Hughes’ first in a homemade rocket. In 2014, the 61-year-old flew a quarter-mile across the Arizona desert before engaging several questionable parachutes on his fall to Earth. He was “in a walker for a couple weeks” after that launch.
Since converting to the flat-Earth belief, Hughes has seen a marked uptick in fundraising contributions to his rocket projects. He hopes eventually to launch himself into space, where he believes he can overturn a scientific understanding that predates NASA by at least 2,300 years. “I don't believe in science,” says Hughes. “I know about aerodynamics and fluid dynamics and how things move through the air, about the certain size of rocket nozzles, and thrust. But that's not science, that's just a formula.” For now, his mission will have to wait. “It's been very disappointing,” he said. “But it's not easy because it's not supposed to be.” 
No matter your views on the shape of the earth, it’s always a challenge to live up to your beliefs. As our lesson this week shows, overcoming evil with good involves more than just believing the truth—it’s also necessary to live the truth. Overcoming evil begins with belief: “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,” then moves to action: “that ye may prove what is that good…will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Sunday’s lesson declares that “With chapter 11, the doctrinal part of the book of Romans ends. Chapters 12 through 16 present practical instruction.” Once we align our thought patterns with God’s will, then our lives follow suit. Our lives naturally become living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. Romans 12:1 calls this our “spiritual act of worship.” In practical terms, our believing leads to us becoming—becoming people who defeat evil’s effects in our lives. It’s not easy to live good lives in a sinful world, but it is absolutely necessary.