On Dealing with Evil

On Dealing with Evil

So often we want to look down on others and think they are so reprehensible and deplorable while we are not. But we ALL are deplorables. We all are dirty rotten scoundrels (to mention another film). We all deserve eternal punishment for our sin. It is only God’s mercy and grace that makes it possible for us to avoid that.

As is usually the case, articles I write are often triggered by something I have just recently read or watched. In this case, a few days ago I had viewed part of some American true crime program on TV. The gist of it was this: a woman with four young children conspired with her lover to kill her husband and get his insurance money. They succeeded.

However, she was soon caught, tried, convicted, and sent to prison for life. Good! What a monstrous woman this was! Hating her own children and husband and happy to murder him! That of course was my immediate thought. But as a Christian I really had to quickly readjust and/or supplement my initial reaction with a few other truths. Two main biblical responses that also came directly to mind were these:

One. Yes satanic evil is alive and well. There most certainly is such a thing as evil – and evil people. We must never dismiss nor play down the reality of diabolical wickedness. It should always offend us and disgust us. We should never grow used to it nor become calloused by it. Evil is real – and it is horrible.

Two. ‘There, but for the grace of God go I.’ Are we really any different? As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, if I hate someone, it really is the same as murdering someone (Matthew 5:21-22). Our outward actions flow from our inner attitudes and dispositions. Thus it immediately sprang to my mind that given the right circumstances I could just as easily have done something like this.

‘But,’ you might say, ‘you would not kill your spouse and be so cavalier about your own children, would you?’ Well, the fact that I am still so often so self-centred and selfish and sinful – even as a long-standing Christian – means that I have hated them at the very least. When I fully put myself first, I am putting others last. I am not loving them as I should but hating them. And that, Jesus said, is just like murdering them.

I shared some of this on the social media recently, and then said this: “In sum, we are to hate evil with a holy passion, but we are also to look into our own hearts. And we must pray for women like this.” All these points can be expanded on at length. So let me add a bit more to each one.

First, one Christian gal asked me a somewhat surprising question. She wanted to know how I would pray for this woman. I would have thought that was rather obvious. I replied: “That she repents and gets saved.” She does not deserve this, but that is what grace is all about.

Is she an evil monster who deserves to be locked up for life? Yes. But as I just said, so are all of us. We are all capable of great evil. And usually it is just social disapproval, fear of what others might think, and so on, that keeps us from committing really gross and horrid evils.

In that sense, I have often referred to the 1993 film Falling Down starring Michael Douglas to make my point about all this. If you don’t mind, I actually like what I wrote 13 years ago about this, so let me share part of that article here:

It tells the sad story of a man who slowly lost the plot. Everything was going against him, and it took its toll.

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