by Joe Leavell
Evil…Sheer evil. No other word adequately describes the terrorism in Paris and the brutality of the terrorist group ISIS. Evil. If you observe the terror laid plain before you and yet you still do not believe evil exists, you are willfully blind to reality.
Disregard…Because we do not understand evil we often turn a blind eye and often pretend that it does not exist. Terrorism gives us no choice but to look evil in its face. The terrorism we experienced shakes us to our core and demands we awaken from our futile disregard of evil.
Justice…We are forced to witness the horror, obliged to read the stories of pain and terror. We are exposed to absolute disregard for human life and are (if only briefly), moved with sorrow and anger. We rightly cry out for justice. Those who have committed these atrocities deserve to pay for their crimes against humanity. We are angry against this incarnated evil and desire it to be eradicated. We long to be free from the terror of real evil. It is a longing for peace in this world of horror.
Reality…Evil has been around for a long time. We have seen evil before. We know we will ultimately see it again. In reality, there could never be a serious hope for ultimate justice against evil unless we understand and are honest about what evil is in the first place and acknowledge its existence.
Confusion…Various explanations for the existence of evil do not make sense or suffice. Morality is deemed by society as merely a product of the highly evolved advantage of beneficial cooperation within a species. Western culture sees ISIS as evil for killing innocent civilians. ISIS does not believe they are evil but are fighting for God. Who is right? Who gets to decide the answer?
Honesty…The biblical worldview sufficiently explains the reality of evil. The God of the Bible alone describes evil, explains where it came from, why it exists, and how it will be eradicated from the world. Scripture does not sugar coat evil or seek to ignore its presence but rather amply explains the problem and how it is to be fixed.
Us…God is honest with us. He tells us that we are why evil exists. He reminds us of the truth we already know in our hearts. We are evil. We have left our created purpose, turned our back on God’s goodness, and have embraced evil. We are the problem. Not just ISIS. Not just terrorists in general. Humans. We are evil.
Me…I am a human. I am what is wrong with this world. So are you. None of us can ultimately end evil in the world because we cannot end it in ourselves. We are trapped in our evil and cannot live up to our own moral standard, let alone God’s. We love self. We serve others for ourselves. Ignoring our created purpose to love our life-giving Creator and turning our backs on loving one another leaves us with…evil.
Judging… If you still think yourself innocent, you are lying. ISIS manifests their own form of evil through violence and murder. While my evil manifests itself differently and in less harmful ways to society, I still add my own evil. Pride. Anger. Selfishness. Greed. Lust. Every human being who is honest, regardless of their morality, will acknowledge their part in contributing their own portion of evil into this world. You have done evil against another human. You are part of the problem and not the solution. Evil will never be destroyed in you until you first acknowledge its presence.
Wrath… God is right to be angry against evil and those who break the peace that He created. Scripture describes Him as good and our Creator of a good world in which we were to enjoy His presence. We rebelled and our hearts were darkened with evil. Evil deserves destruction. We want God to destroy it when we see it! But I am evil. I turned my back on the Giver of life and deserve separation from the life that He gives. I deserve judgment. I deserve death. It is not only terrorists who do obvious evil who deserve judgment. All mankind stands condemned before a God who sees and hates evil perfectly.
Grace…God is rich in mercy and grace. Instead of immediately destroying us for our crimes, God, because of His great love, instead willfully gave up His own beloved Son on our behalf. The Father poured out His wrath against our evil and our rebellion onto Jesus on the cross. Mercy. Something we do not deserve. But God provided Himself as the only way for evil to be eradicated. God the Son took upon Himself our sin so that we could be once and all freed from sin, evil, and ultimately death itself.
Repentance…Acknowledging evil within. Accepting responsibility for being part of the problem. Confessing rebellion against God and against His good design. Turning to Jesus in faith that He will give grace to those who ask Him. Acknowledging Him as the only hope and solution to our problem of evil. Turning from our evil and trusting in Christ to reconcile us to God once and for all. This is how evil is defeated in our hearts.
Life… Evil was eradicated through Jesus. As a result of His sacrifice, death had no right to Him. He rose up from the dead and God ultimately triumphed over evil! As a result, the Giver of life freely grants forgiveness and peace with God to all who would ask of Him. He is the ultimate Peacemaker. The One who overcomes evil. He alone gives peace with God through forgiveness of evil. He alone changes hearts from evil to reflect His goodness. He alone gives hope.
Not yet…Evil still exists. But it has ultimately met its defeat at the cross. The evil of ISIS will not have the last word. Jesus will. Everyone, including all evil-doers and terrorists, will one day bow at His feet and acknowledge Him as Lord. Justice will be done. Eternal penalties will be paid. Wrongs will be righted. Tears will be wiped away. Joy of the redeemed will remain in unending peace. Evil, no more. Come soon Lord Jesus!