Monday, November 18, 2013

The Problem of Evil

Here are a few somewhat random thoughts that were stirred up in me this morning as I read my devotional on 2 Kings. They are thoughts about a topic that I avoid as much as possible—evil. What follows are harsh words for a recovering Polly Anna such as myself. But they are words I need to hear, ponder and act upon.

When I think about evil, I picture a cartoonish Satan, demons, hell, fire and brimstone. But what I read in my devotional this morning reminded me that an image of evil is as close as my bathroom mirror. Ouch!

Larry Crabb says, “Understand the lethal nature of the evil that is in My people (me) and tremble before its power to ruin your life.” He continues, “Evil… is the second strongest power in the universe… it is in the bloodstream of every human soul but one.” Yep, that includes me… and you.

“Evil is real and it is in you. Evil promises life and delivers death. It destroys everything worth living for.” I’ve witnessed this first hand. It is so tragic, so heartbreaking. And it can happen to any of us because as Larry Crabb says, “Evil unadmitted, unchecked, unforgiven and unchanged leads eventually to soul-shattering misery, always.”

We try to gloss over it, white wash it, explain it away. We excuse it, calling it insecurity and try to build self-esteem without dealing with the real issue of sin and evil. We even medicate it. But by denying it, excusing it, explaining it away and medicating it, evil continues to be, as Crabb says, unadmitted, unchecked, unforgiven and unchanged, leading to soul-shattering misery.

We promote ourselves over others whose sin seems worse than ours – even though we know that’s not possible. We act like the evil in others is not our problem. Instead, we try to use the sins of others to make us feel better about ourselves and look better in the eyes others. And again, it goes unadmitted, unchecked, unforgiven and unchanged, leading to soul-shattering misery.

I don’t know about you, but I am so weary of seeing soul-shattering misery! So what do we do?
1)   Recognize, admit, confess and seek forgiveness for the evil that is in me—daily.
2)   Lovingly confront the evil we see in others.
Number 2 is the more difficult one for me because I’m so afraid of offending or wrongly judging someone, which I have done so often. I think that’s why number 1 needs to happen first. I’ve got to get the log out of my own eye before I can even begin to recognize a splinter in someone else’s.

This Christian walk is sure messy. Relationships are messy… Even the one I have with the Lord… because I am messy, in fact, I’m a mess! But God still wants a relationship with me, and He’s gone to great lengths to prove that to me. So I will continue trudging on in my relationship with Him, allowing Him to show me the logs in my eyes, listening closely to His loving direction as He leads me to speak to someone about their splinters. Not because I want to judge or offend them, but because I love them and I don’t want the evil in them to go unadmitted, unchecked, unforgiven or unchanged, leading them to soul-shattering misery.

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!