Thursday, July 23, 2015

Combating the Face of Evil

I can’t help but ask, “Why?” and “For how long must it continue?” as I have selectively read articles over the last few months about the various atrocities being carried out around our world because to know the intricate details would have only further added to the pain I feel deep within my own soul. It seems like every day new details about senseless murders, sexual predators, natural disasters, riots, ISIS takeovers, and so much more continually fill my newsfeed. I feel helpless and ill-equipped to process such information let alone be able to find a way to aid or even know how to bring about some sort of change. I feel as if my thoughts and desires are random and ever changing. A part of me wants the bad guys to pay—for the swift arm of justice to promptly denounce evil, pronounce their ultimate fate, and never look back in pity for one second. My heart understands David’s pleas even more throughout Psalms 10, especially when he says, “Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” and his cry in Psalms 94 when he says, “Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? Who will rise up for me against the evil doers? Or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” I understand the innate desire for God to no longer be so merciful—for His righteous anger to be poured out swiftly and justly on those who continually seek to harm the innocent. Another part of me also wants the human race as a whole to just get along—to not resort to such violence and bloodshed as being the first viable option. I long for peace, but I know there will never be peace, not true peace, not until Christ returns to reign as king.

In the midst of all my warring emotions and longings, I can see so clearly why God waits—why His Son’s return is imminent but not occurring at this very moment. He’s a patient, merciful, loving God who would that all men would come to repentance. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). Those murderers, sexual predators, rioters, ISIS militants, faces of evil in this world—they’re all souls who are lost and in need of a Savior. In realizing and acknowledging this alone, it calls into question if God in all His righteousness suddenly chooses to obliterate them instantaneously for the atrocities they’ve committed then would He have been as merciful to me when I was lost and in need of a Savior?
It kind of puts things into perspective a little, doesn’t it? . . . And, yes, I totally get that their souls are indeed completely blackened by sin . . . but so was mine; and, no, I’ve never committed the atrocities they have but my sin was the very thing that separated me from a holy, righteous God. We must never forget that the ground at the foot of the cross is level because there is absolutely nothing we can do that will make us fit to stand before God except for repenting, believing, and accepting what His Son has already done for us. Being aware of this—what Christ has done for us, in us, and through us—shouldn’t that alone make us want to cry out to Him all the more to be merciful to all these souls as well? Shouldn’t we beg Him to show them their need for a Savior before it’s too late? Shouldn’t we be the first to show them mercy and love instead of retaliation and hate? We should view these people, not for what they are or even for what they’ve done but for who they truly are—souls lost and blinded by sin—souls in desperate need of the cleansing and healing power of the blood of the only One who can bury sin in the deepest sea—remove it as far as the east is from the west—and resurrect a new creature who will ultimately spread love and the message of Christ. Instead of praying that God stops such violence in this world, why not pray that He pricks the souls of those committing such atrocities calling them unto Himself and to repentance so He can make them new creatures in Him?

There are indeed many faces to evil and throughout history that has been proven true time and time again, but remember who the true enemy is—who we are ultimately fighting. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12). Satan seeks to destroy God’s creation by exploiting what God meant for good, and God uses the evil Satan wields to draw the lost unto Himself and to purify and strengthen the ones He already calls His own. Whatever Satan means for evil, God makes good and beautiful in His way and in His time. Until God destroys the heaven and the earth and makes a new heaven and a new earth, we will be plagued by evil. Know that the victory has already been won, and if you are a son or daughter of God, you are on the winning side so be faithful to your calling, let your light shine before all so they may be pointed to the cross, and love first and foremost even if it cost you your very life. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matt 5:44). “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matt. 5:10-12). “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matt 10:16-20,22,28,39).