Is it really possible to overcome evil with good? We sat down with Zech, a former leader of a neo-Nazi white supremacist gang, and Stefan, a Black pastor at one of our Life.Church campuses. The two of them met right after Zech got out of prison, and their story will surprise you in all the best ways.
You can find their full story on the You’ve Heard It Said podcast, but here’s a summary from Stefan:
When I first met Zech, he was a Neo-Nazi leader in a white supremacist gang. Somehow, God brought him to Life.Church South Oklahoma City in 2008. Needless to say, he wasn’t a fan of Black people or church. But God was doing something in his heart, and as crazy as it may seem, we struck up an unlikely friendship.
The one thing we had in common was pursuing Jesus.
Over the years since then, I’ve spent hundreds of hours with this man, talking about God, the Bible, and racial violence. I’ve served with him, caring for the homeless and praying over students. We’ve worshiped together, and I’ve watched him lead people to Christ.
And I’ve seen his life completely transformed.
I testified for him as a character witness in court, visited him when he came home from prison, officiated at his wedding to one of my dear friends, Rachel, and dedicated his first child.
All of this started with the fact that both Zech and I chose to overlook the color of our skin and start our relationship off with a conversation, seeking to understand each other.
Now, he’s one of the fiercest followers of Christ I know, and all the hate and racism in his heart have been eradicated by the love of Jesus.
I mention all this to show that it’s possible to defeat and even destroy racism. But only if we are willing to embrace those who aren’t like us and enter into a conversation to understand the other person—not to change them.
Listen to them. Let Jesus do the changing. If you start out with love, typically it will end with love as well.
It’s possible to overcome evil with good. But as Stefan said, we must start with love and choose to fill in information gaps with love and empathy instead of anger and hatred.
Listen to their incredible story and talk it over with your LifeGroup, your friends, a coworker, or your family using the Conversation Guide linked below.
Find the Conversation Guide here, or get it delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing at www.life.church/yhis