A family member and I were recently discussing all the bad things that are happening in our country these days... and we got on the subject of evil.
True evil... not accidents or mistakes... but moral evil. And he asked, "What IS evil?" Great question...
This is not necessarily a feel-good topic but today I want to talk about ...
WHAT IS EVIL?Oh boy, did I pick a topic that is thick with theology and much debated and explained by scholars who talk and think way above my head!
This is not the definitive word on evil .... or even a thorough definition... and it will not even begin to scratch the surface of this topic... but it is an easy to understand and a good way to think about evil.
Evil is the absence of God.
When we push God out of our lives... out of our country... He WILL leave. He will never force himself or His presence on anyone.
And when God leaves, He leaves a great big V-O-I-D. It is in that void that evil flourishes, no... abounds!
Jesus, in the Sermon On The Mount said...
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, to show that you are the children of your Father in heaven, for He makes the sun shine on the wicked and the good, and makes the rain fall on the upright and the evildoers."
I want to highlight one part of this scripture that is not the main meaning, but will give us insight into good and evil.
Jesus says that God "makes the sun shine on the wicked and the good, and makes the rain fall on the upright and the evildoers". What Jesus is saying, and the Jews of the day would understand this, is God's grace and goodness is on all of His creation... both good and evil. "Rain" in the bible can be a symbol of blessing. In ancient times God would withhold the rains when His people were turning away from Him and acting evil. It was a sign to the people... a way of God saying, "You better watch and turn back to Me".
I'm not saying that droughts today are God's way of warning us about evil in our lives and nations. Here is what I am saying... God's grace and mercy to everyone is a way of showing who He is and His love for all of us! And because of His great blessings, love and mercy... this should make all people want to turn to Him.
But there are people that don't accept, acknowledge or believe in God or His great love and benevolence to all of us. They choose to turn their backs on Him... and go their own way. And left to our own devices we can begin a very dark spiral into evil... a pit without the presence of God!
When we take this deadly path, evil abounds. And the saddest thing is the consequences of evil... the fallout... that ripples out onto those around the wicked. Evil is not discriminating, it effects everyone... the evil, the good, the innocent! For example, we can easily see the horrific fallout of abuse on the lives of an abuser's family. Innocents most often suffer! We have seen the heartbreaking fallout of evil in the recent Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
For me, the tragic occurrences in our country today are sure signs of a nation in deep trouble... in denial of God. You may not agree, and that is your right, but looking at these tragedies in today's world that are perpetrated by evil people and the heart wrenching loss of life and innocence is a sure sign to me!
Remember ... evil is the absence of God.
Then how do we as individuals and as a nation curb the evil. The answer is easy... TURN BACK TO GOD!
Believe in the saving grace of Jesus! The answer may be easy...
The obedience to that biblical truth may not be!
We, who are authentic Christians, should be mourning over the loss of those who have chosen the darkness of the pit by rejecting God. But we should also find comfort in the truth that no one ... NO ONE... is beyond salvation.
We all have a choice, God gave the same choice to the Jews many centuries ago as they were just about to head into the promised land of Israel... the land they were to live in...
"I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the cures. So choose life in order that you may live, and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him, for this is your life and length of days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your father, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them". Deut. 30: 19
We have a choice... like a multiple choice test... and God even gives us the correct answer...
Here's your test...
What will you chose?
a. life and blessings
b. death and curses
c. chose life...
What have you chosen?
Evil is a sure sign of failing the test! But here is the great news... God let's us retake the test. He is ready... are you?