Human beings are exposed to many influences, especially those from their surroundings. The world into which they are born, in which they grow up and make their experiences, defines their nature and personality—whether for good or ill. No matter how much of an effort one may make, it is not always possible to avoid negative influences.
The evil that still prevails in this world, which still holds power over mankind, cannot simply be turned off or neutralized—it brings its influence to bear. However, we have not simply been abandoned to it without protection. In His intercessory prayer, Jesus asked His Father: “Keep them from the evil one!” This means that, while we may still live in the domain of the evil one, evil cannot become a danger to us. It only has a limited influence upon us, because the power which Christ gives the believers in His word and in the sacraments helps them to resist the evil one. With this power, we are in a position to say no to the evil one. And with this power we are even equipped to counter evil with goodness and overcome it with goodness.
And the promise still applies: “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3: 3). Since this is the case, evil no longer has any influence on our relationship with God. And it is to have less and less of an influence on our relationship with our neighbour as well.
* Food for thought from a divine service by the Chief Apostle