DEALING WITH EVIL

evil

I hate evil. I hate when evil happens. I hate injustice, or at least I hate what I believe is unjust.

Evil people and evil acts cannot be understood by most of us. Senseless, cruel and self-centered acts of terror and hate seem almost surreal and it’s believed these can’t happen to us; until it does.

Following any of the latest mass killings, the pundits bring out their arguments, one trying to out maneuver, or out yell, the other.  Each believing he or she is in the right, while the rest of us are supposed to take sides.

I’m tired. I’m sad. I hate evil and injustice and the extinguishing of innocence. Somehow, we must make sense of this; to open our perspective and see things in a much longer and broader view. When I need a viewpoint overhaul, I have learned to look to scripture. There’s little that’s really new in this world. Suffering, injustice and evil have been wreaking havoc in this world since nearly the dawn of mankind. So I look to the lessons of the past, how it is people dealt with these things and what wisdom they have to pay forward to us.

When looking into what scripture weighs in on regarding evil and injustice, a pattern developed. There are two parts or considerations – God’s part and humanity’s (or our) part.

Breaking it down for God’s part:

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Exodus 14:14 – The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.

Psalm 75:10 – All the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.

Breaking it down for humanity’s, or our, part:

Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Proverbs 29:11 – A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Leviticus 19:18 – You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Take this away. God’s got this, and we do not nor do we need to.

I found many other parts of scripture supportive of this; I placed only three verses for each point in this post. Throughout the Bible, God insists on reminding us that he is the judge, he alone with determine who and what is just and for those in need of justice he will deliver it in full measure.

We mix up our part and God’s part, at least I do. I want to determine what’s right and wrong. I want to payback those who are in the wrong, in my view. And clearly, there are evil things that go on that are clearly wrong!  However ultimately, God requires of us to trust him to handle matters, leave it to him to handle and not retaliate in a spirit of hatred.

Can we hate evil? I believe there is a righteous form of anger, much like Jesus exhibited in the table turning over scene in the temple. So, yes, I think there is such a thing. However, let’s not masquerade behind a veil of our self-declared “righteous”anger as though we know the answer to all the questions – whether it be a stance on gun control, societal handling of those with mental illness or radicalized “religious” zealots.

God calls us to hold back, to love our neighbor and not bear a grudge – especially against those trying just as desperately to figure out how to handle the situation and what we can do to keep this from happening again. Assume the best of your brothers and sisters. Stop talking and listen. Consider another’s viewpoint.

Love your neighbor. Then, we’ll figure out a better path together.

 

 

 

 

 

[photo credit: my jewish learning dot com]

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