Posts Tagged ‘Evil


How To Repay Evil

When people mistreat you, what is your response? If someone insults you, what do you say in return? Peter tells us how to repay someone who is mean to us. He writes:

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. – 1 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

Instead of revenge, we are to repay evil with a blessing. Say what? How is that even possible? How can we be expected to do that? If someone bops you in the nose, you want to bop them right back! The thing about revenge is that it is never an eye for an eye. It’s two eyes for an eye. We want to get revenge plus a little more. We want to teach them a lesson. Don’t mess with me! That’s not how a follower of Jesus should respond. God promises a blessing to those who repay evil with a blessing instead of revenge. God’s deepest desire is for people to be reconciled to Him. If you bless someone who mistreats you or insults you, you might win them over to Jesus. There’s much more at stake than your pride or hurt feelings.

God Has The Final Say

God has revealed right and wrong in His Word. Whether it is the 10 Commandments or in the teachings of His Son, Jesus, or in the letters of Paul, God has set standards for life. People, for the most part, have a sense of right and wrong. There are things that we just know are right and wrong. So when someone does something wicked and despicable, it makes our blood boil with righteous anger. We want justice for the oppressed and the wronged. Do not worry because God will take care of it in the end. Solomon wrote:

Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,
    but those who are righteous will go free. – Proverbs 11:21 (NIV)

God will have the final say when it comes to those who perpetrate evil and wickedness. The wicked will be judged and punished for their sins and their crimes. In the meantime, let us pray that those who have done evil and wicked things may be convicted by God’s Spirit and brought to repentance before it is too late. Let us pray for their victims that they may know God’s peace.

Wretches Like Us

The Hebrew word for “fool” in Psalm 14 literally means one who is morally deficient.  It does not mean one who is an imbecile.  Those who reject God and His authority in their lives are foolish.  They live lives of moral degradation.  They do not honor God with their lives.  They do evil and perpetrate wickedness.  They fly airplanes into buildings.  They set off roadside bombs.  They blow up buildings in Boston.  They have no regard for human life.  We can hear the words of David echo through time into our present-day reality:

All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one. – Psalm 14:3 (NIV)

We are surrounded by wickedness and evil all the time.  I don’t want to put us up on a pedestal, because in many ways we are no better.  We are all capable of great sin and wickedness.  We are filled with anger and hate from time to time.  We allow bitterness to get the best of us and we don’t forgive as we should.  We don’t love others like we should.  We don’t control our tongues as James says to do.  We don’t do everything – word or deed – in the name of the Lord Jesus as Colossians 3:17 says to do.  We are wretches as the song says.  But there is a difference – grace.  God’s wonderful grace covers our sins and forgives our wickedness.  God’s love makes all the difference.  How we live now is to be a response to His love and grace.  We are merciful because God is merciful.  We are forgiving because God has forgiven.  We are full of love and joy and not hatred and bitterness.  We are to be making a difference in this world one life at a time.  We are to show love to everyone.  To those who love us and to those who mistreat us.  To our friends and to our enemies.  To people who worship every Sunday and to those who do not love God.  To all people.  Everywhere.  All the time.  Then people will call on the name of the Lord Jesus – the One who saves.
PRAYER: Father, may my life be lived as a response to grace today. Help me to remember that I once was lost, but now am found. Help me to remember that Your grace saved a wretch like me. May I extend Your love and grace to those around me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Psalm 14

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 14

For the director of music. Of David.

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on the Lord.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
for God is present in the company of the righteous.
You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is their refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!


Working It Out For Good

NOTE: This post is based on a post from September, 2013.

On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people and there it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God, 2 because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaamto call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.) – Nehemiah 13:1-2 (NIV)

God is amazing!  We read throughout Scripture that He is able to take bad situations and work them out for good.  I think about the life of Joseph.  I think about the crucifixion.  I think about Romans 8:28 (NIV):

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God is able to work everything – even the bad things in our lives – out for the best.  He can take our heartache and turn it into joy.  He can take our pain and turn it into strength and perseverance.  He can take our chaos and turn it into peace.  God can take the bad and turn it into good.  We have to trust Him and know that He is working it all out.  He is bigger than our problems and our battles.  He is bigger than our struggles and troubles.  He is bigger than our doubts, worries and fears.  God is good and He will work the troubles in our lives out for good.
PRAYER: My Lord and my God, help me today to see Your amazing ability to turn my struggles and weaknesses into something good.  I have doubts and failures and troubles and pain.  How I need You to give me strength to overcome them.  How I need You to take the bad things of my life and make them good.  I know and believe that You can do that, O God.  Thank You for hearing my prayer, amen.

The Night Is Almost Over

The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. — Romans 13:11b-14 (NIV)

I have a friend who says something to the effect that “nothing good happens after midnight”.  And when you think about it, he’s just about right.  When there is light shining, people behave more appropriately.  When there is darkness, there are all kinds of evil.  As Christians, we are to “walk in the light, as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7, NIV).  Jesus is “the light of the world” (John 8:12, NIV).  If we are going to clothe ourselves with Him (Galatians 3:27), we must step out of the darkness and into the light of His glorious presence.  We must reject the darkness of evil and sin and instead, we have to allow Christ to shine His light into the dark places of our souls.  His light will expose everything that is evil and then it can be done away with.  May His light shine in the darkness in and through us today.

PRAYER:  Father God, help me to walk in the light today.  May I seek to live in such a way that I do not need to hide my life in the shadows of darkness.  Remind me that I am clothed with Christ by Your grace.  Remind me that I represent Him everywhere I go.  May I shine His light in the darkness today.  I praise You in the holy name of Jesus, amen.


The Evil Inside Of Us

James 1:13-15 (NIV)
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
​There are two possible outcomes for trials in our lives: spiritual maturity or spiritual death.  In verses 2-4 of chapter 1, James says that we should rejoice in trials of many kinds.  When our faith is tested, the test produces perseverance and perseverance produces spiritual maturity.  In verses 13-15, we see a much different outcome of the testing of our faith.  Rather than producing perseverance, the test might lead to temptation and then to sin and finally to spiritual death.
For example, the believer in “humble circumstances” (verse 9) might be tempted to covet what his wealthy neighbor possesses.  He or she might be tempted to blame their circumstances for their temptation and sin.  James tells us that sin is born of evil desires.  Temptation to sin comes from within.  Temptation does not come from outside circumstances such as our position in life or our parents (we do tend to blame our parents for our circumstances, don’t we?  Just ask a thousand therapists with clients on their couches.)  Those who face persecution might be tempted to take revenge on those who persecute them.  What did Jesus say to do instead?  Pray for them!  
When we are tempted, we might even try to blame God for the sin in our lives.  “If God would only bless me, I wouldn’t be tempted to covet.”  “If God would only protect me, I wouldn’t be tempted to get revenge.”  James says that God does not tempt us because God is not evil.  God does not tempt us to sin to see if we can endure the temptation.  God can use evil for good, but He is not evil and He does not use evil to test our faith or to help us grow in our faith.  God is good and He desires the greatest good for our lives.  That means that we must not yield to temptation and instead we must resist the evil within us and the evil one who seeks to ensnare us.

Our Destiny Awaits

The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. – Ecclesiastes 9:3 (NIV)

​What Solomon says here seems so true in this day and age in which we find ourselves living.  There are people who somehow manage to do a few good deeds while they live, but all around us are those who do horrible things.  We cannot watch the news without a sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs due to the violence and evil all around us.  Yet, Solomon says, the fate of those who are righteous and the fate of the evil are the same – we all die.  So why shouldn’t we just act on our basest instincts and do whatever we feel like doing, right or wrong?
The answer is Jesus.  For those who trust in Christ, we know that we have been forgiven.  We know that we have been set free from the guilt and shame of our sin.  We have been made new creations by the grace of God through faith in Jesus.  We have hope beyond the grave.  While we may have the same fate of the wicked (death), we have hope of eternity with our Heavenly Father.  This should be the driving force to live holy, righteous lives.  Not the fear of judgment or wrath, but the promise of Heaven.  We should desire to please our Heavenly Father for He has not only created us, He has also bought us with the precious blood of His Son that was shed on the cross.​  We will all be judged, but for the Christian, we will be found innocent of all charges. This is our hope.  This is what separates us from those who have no fear of God.
Let us enjoy the lives we have been given and let us use them to please God and to share the good news of Jesus with those who have yet to hear of His amazing love and grace.

Ecclesiastes 9:1-12 (NIV)

So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no one knows whether love or hate awaits them. All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.

As it is with the good,
    so with the sinful;
as it is with those who take oaths,
    so with those who are afraid to take them.

This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

For the living know that they will die,
    but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
    and even their name is forgotten.
Their love, their hate
    and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part
    in anything that happens under the sun.

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

11 I have seen something else under the sun:

The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
    or wealth to the brilliant
    or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.

12 Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come:

As fish are caught in a cruel net,
    or birds are taken in a snare,
so people are trapped by evil times
    that fall unexpectedly upon them.

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