Responding to Evil

Just when it seems like the world can’t get worse – it does. We live in an age when we barely have time to recover from one tragic, gut-wrenching catastrophe before another takes its place.  We struggle to make sense of natural disasters that devastate our world but what about man-made disasters? What about boys molested by someone they should have been able to trust? What about the innocent people attending a movie whose lives have been forever changed? How do we even begin to explain these tragedies?

The fact of the matter is – we can’t. We can offer opinions. We can argue about what drove a man to perform an evil act. We can attempt to analyze the facts. But we will never satisfactorily explain evil. Evil simply makes no sense, there is no satisfactory answer. It is the great unexplainable.

For the Christian the issue is not how to explain what happened; the issue is how do we respond to evil? It is not our place to attempt to explain the unexplainable, it is our duty to analyze our lives and determine how we as followers of Christ are going to respond. It is only as we determine the godly response to evil that we can find hope and solace. Any Christian response to evil must include several actions.

1. Pray for the victims

Few of us have a personal connection to any of the victims but we can pray for them. Pray for God to bring comfort into their lives. Pray for their salvation which is ultimately the only way that they will find peace. Pray for their emotional, physical and spiritual healing. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man (or woman) avails much (James 5:16).

2. Pray for the offenders

It’s a difficult thing to do but the Jerry Sanduskys and the James Holmes’ of our world need Christ just as much as anyone else. Christ taught us to love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:44). If we cannot pray for the worst among us how are we like Christ?

3. Don’t be overcome with evil

It’s easy for us to be overwhelmed with the evil around us. We feel helpless to make sense of it or to explain it and so we resign  ourselves to view it as inevitable. It’s simply going to happen and there is nothing that anyone can do about it. The Apostle Paul felt differently when he wrote: Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:19-21).

4. Renew your commitment to holiness

Take this opportunity to renew your commitment to holiness. The world sees too much evil; it needs to see more holiness and it will only see holiness as we commit ourselves to living out the life of Christ. Be holy for I am holy (1 Peter 1:16) is not only a command of scripture, it is the only way that society will change from a culture of death to a culture of life.

5. Keep your eyes on Jesus

Even though sin is rampant in our world, we are called as Christ-followers to run the race of life, keeping our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). It’s so easy to focus on the evil but we are called to focus on the good. Keeping the right focus will keep us on the right track.

6. Remember that sin has already been defeated

At the cross Christ defeated sin once and for all. The Apostle Paul reminds us that Christ took the accusations of sin that were lodged against us and nailed them to the cross. And in that supreme act of sacrifice He marched in triumph over Satan and the evil powers that are the ultimate cause of such sinful acts (Colossians 2:13-15). Sin may still rock our lives but it cannot win the war.

7. Rejoice that someday righteousness will prevail

There is coming a day when evil will be judged and righteousness will prevail (Revelation 19-22) and in that truth we can rejoice. When that day comes there will be no more evil, only true righteousness.

For the Christian our response to evil is what matters. The story that is playing out in Colorado is important for society at large but the story that is playing out in your life as you determine your response to these events is important on a personal level. How you respond says something about the quality of your faith.

If you want to read an excellent article about the tragedy in Colorado from a Christian perspective I recommend this one.

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve

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