Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How Do We Respond to Evil?

Ever since I started listening to Hugh Hewitt and reading his blog (about two years ago now), I have found myself wondering: How should a Christian respond to all the evil we see around us? The wicked do evil blatantly, flaunting it before the whole world, bragging about it, showing off how bad they really are. It doesn't matter whether they are in the mainstream media, the blogosphere, the United States Congress, the European Union, or the Islamic world - it seems everywhere I look I see the same picture of wicked people turned against God and against His people, both Israel and the church. So how do I respond? I get angry, I grieve, and too often I feel helpless to do anything about it. I was surprised in my reading this morning to find that Psalm 119 offers some answers to how godly people should respond to the wickedness around them.

Verse 53, for example: "Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law." It is natural and normal for those who love righteousness to get angry at what's happening in the world! In fact, the one time God gives us permission to be angry (and the one time He gets angry Himself) is when we see wickedness. In our anger, we are not to sin - but we are to hate evil and to be angry at those who willingly flaunt God's laws.

Another response is illustrated in verse 136: "Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed." Grief is also a normal, natural, godly response to evil. We should be sad and grieve when we see the wicked prosper and the weak suffer.

Verse 158 says: "I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word." It is OK to feel angry and disgusted with those who refuse to obey God even though they know His truth.

Besides telling us how to respond emotionally to evil, the psalmist also gives us an example of what to DO about evil. Throughout the Psalm, he cries out to God to act against the wicked and redeem the righteous and the weak who are suffering. Verse 126: "It is time for you to act, O Lord; your law is being broken." We, too, are to cry out to the Lord when we see His law being broken and His Name being despised.

Almost at the end of the Psalm, he shows what we will experience when we respond to evil this way. Verse 165: "Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble." I don't know about you, but I desperately long for that "great peace" that comes from dealing with evil the way God wants us to deal with it.

Father, as I see evil in the world around me, I get angry. I grieve to see the weak and helpless led astray and abused. I am disgusted by the conduct of many, some who even claim to be Yours, who willingly flaunt their disobedience and ignore your truth. "It is time for You to act, O Lord!" I turn to You to judge wickedness, to redeem Your people, and to bring glory to Your Name. Give me Your "great peace," I pray.

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