Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good. - Romans 12:21 HCSB

An elderly holy woman decided to serve God by living in a third world country and serving the destitute people there. She lived among them, as poor as they, yet radiated Hashem’s loving care to them. She showed them how to bathe upstream from where they defecated. She brought them mosquito nets and showed them the advantage of sleeping under them. She toiled all day long under the sweltering sun in a garden showing them how to increase their crops through irrigation so that they would not go hungry in the rainy dry season.

As she served them tirelessly, many of the villagers were drawn to her heart. “Why have you come here? Why are you always joyful?” they asked.

She explained to them simply, “The great God, the One who made all things, has rescued me from my sufferings. He has shown me His love. How can I not be glad? How can I not share that good news with you?” Many listened to the words she spoke, considered the acts of love with which she backed them up and decided to also seek this great God.

Some chose not to, hardening their hearts. As they did, their minds became darkened and a hatred for this godly saint grew in them. The local shaman, finding that he was losing customers for his useless idols, became enraged at the old lady and decided to kill her. Other men who considered him an ally agreed with him. “Kill the old white woman and we will back you up in front of the others. We can all share her wealth between us!”

The wicked shaman went that very night to kill the tzaddik. He snuck to the back of her house with a poisoned knife in his hand, looking for an opportunity to stab her with it. However, as he tip toed through the darkness, something tripped him and as he fell he stabbed himself in the side with the deadly blade.

The old woman heard him cry out, ran around to the back of her hut and found him there bleeding and already in the thrall of the poison. She called for help but when the villagers saw him lying there with the blade, they knew what he had wanted to do. “Let him die!” they urged. “He would have killed you and if he survives he may try again!”

The old woman replied, “Hashem reached out to us when we were hateful and filled with the bitter dregs of sin’s poison.[1] How can we not do the same for this poor soul?” With their help she got him inside and over the next couple of weeks healed him.

To truly be delivered of our enemy we must heal him. We must find a way to teach him God’s love even if it means that, like our God, we too must die.[2]


[1] Romans 5:6-8

[2] Philippians 1:20; 2:5,8