Evil in the World

What do you say after an event like the one that happened Friday?  It feels like you have to say something, but almost anything seems trite against the horror of little children being executed by a madman.  My wife and I have come up with a little thing that helps us to understand the strange and, often, troubling things people say in times of stress.  “When you have a choice of two or three things you could say, you will almost always choose the dumbest.”  So often we walk away from a brief conversation and wonder why we said what we did.  And, just as often, we have to walk away forgiving the other person for what he or she said.

So I am simply going to say this: there is evil in the world.  Sometimes the evil bursts out in ways that bring terror and grief.  Sometimes the evil is so plain to see that we can’t explain it away or excuse it.

People all over the nation are crying out for gun control, as though more gun control would stop such violence.  The people of China are not allowed to own guns, but children have been attacked with axes, box cutters, meat cleavers, and knives.  In fact, 22 children were slashed in Henan Province on Friday, the same day as the Sandy Hook School killings.  This isn’t about guns, or mental health, or divorce, or public schools—this is about evil.  Evil uses whatever it can to bring harm.

The young man who committed this act worked evil.  The evil in his heart grew and twisted and festered until it found a way of expression.  In Romans, Paul speaks of sin as a force within him, even as a believer (Rom. 7:17).  Sin takes advantage of the world and its cruel influences to twist our flesh and move us to do things we regret.  Sin is evil and sin is in each person.  Sin is as natural to us as breathing air.

That’s why we need a Savior.

The limited and tilted picture we get of the young murderer is of someone who needed to know in his heart that he was loved.  Yes, I understand that he had some diagnosed psychological problems, but the story so far speaks volumes about the lack of security and love in his life.  We may never understand what finally snapped in him, but I can’t help but wonder if things would be different today if he understood the love of Jesus for him.

As you go about your business today, love people.  Sometimes it is hard and the only love you may find is a little more patience and a decision not to say what you think the person deserves.  But, if the love of Jesus is in your heart, share it.  And don’t be afraid to tell people where it came from when they ask why you are kind.

Love is the one thing that multiplies as it is shared.  You have more for yourself as you give it away.  Yes, there are people who cannot accept love and people who use your love to take advantage of you.  I don’t blame anyone for being careful.  Loving someone is not the same as giving in to their addictions and cruelties.

The evil of many generations apart from God—the evil of a culture that is becoming increasingly narcissistic—the evil of a church that seeks to appease God through lists and rules and legalistic standards—has found its way to the hearts of our young people.  They are struggling in ways few of us ever did.  Sexual promiscuity, drugs, homosexuality, suicide—these are part of their lives now.  They need to know the love of Jesus.

Be sure to tell your kids and grandkids what you are learning about being loved.  It will make a difference!

3 Comments

Filed under heart, Relationship

3 responses to “Evil in the World

  1. Carol

    While I think you are correct to call this evil, I find your comment “the story so far speaks volumes about the lack of security and love in his life.” very callous and unsupported. I know that we want to blame someone or find a logical “explanation” and it is easy for that to be the family situation and especially the mom. But from the article I just read about her, this is not the case. (Even though I know we can’t be 100% sure what the family was really like) It is possible for someone to do or be evil without any bad family treatment. For example, the Jeffery Dahmer case also didn’t show any obvious parental abuse or even maltreatment. Also, he had a type of autism! They do not understand how to relate to people even if they are extremely kind or loving.
    There is also another kind of evil which could be working that “modern” Christians don’t like to think about, not just our personal sin nature. He could have been possessed by a demon. It is biblical. And I am NOT saying that all mentally ill people have demons either. The two things are not connected, but they are also not mutually exclusive. Sadly, we will never really know why.

    • Carol, thanks for your comment. You are right that my “judgment” was premature. The truth is that we know very little. We know the spin of the media and the outer layers of the family situation. We also know that there was some kind of autism/mental illness involved. And it is easy to jump from the comments we hear to judgments. Our personal feelings on the effects of divorce, family estrangement (brother hadn’t talked with him for two years), rejection or lack of acceptance at school, being labeled as a potential risk by counselors–color our judgments. As I grieve for the families of the teachers, school workers, and children, I also grieve for a young broken man who – for some reason – chose to act in such a way. It is very difficult for me to believe that a heart relationship with Jesus would not have made a difference. So many of the young people of our day feel empty and worthless. They have little hope for a better future and loving acceptance in a world based on performance.

      So, thank you for reminding me not to jump to conclusions about this particular incident. It was not my intention to disparage the boy’s family, nor to provide a trite answer. In fact, my only real answer to this is what I said in the post – there is evil in the world. I also believe that love, true love in Christ, overcomes much evil.

      As far as your suggestion that demons could be involved, that seems entirely possible to me. I am grateful that you didn’t connect mental illness directly to demons as some do. However, even there we have no evidence other than the incredible evil of the actions. Many people would be seriously offended that we put this in any kind of religious context.

      Perhaps more information will come out that will help us understand this situation. At the same time, I would caution all of us to beware of drawing connections between certain facts about the boy or his family and the actions that he did. The old logic statement says, “Correlation does not imply causaton.” In other words, just because something is true (whether we like it or not) that does not mean that we can use it to explain the result. Perhaps we should add to that another statement: we have no right to use the pain of someone else to further our personal crusade or agenda.

      • Carol

        Thank you so much for your response. This site is great and has helped me so much. Spreading the gospel of the love of Christ I believe is the only way to make the world as good as we can until His return, but unfortunately our sin nature along with our free wills can oppose God’s love. It broke my heart to learn from my experience with a narcissist that no matter how much love, kindness or understanding I showed him, it did not change his actions nor persuade him to open his heart back. Even Jesus could not convert Judas’ heart. God gives us the grace to love Him back, but sadly many will not. Maybe the rejection or lack of reciprocation of love is the definition of evil, it is a mystery to me.

        I agree we shouldn’t use anyones personal pain to further a personal crusade, but I would not worry over those who would be seriously offended that we may put this in a religious context. First, this is a public crime with social issues and we have free speech rights. (for now) But more importantly, Jesus said that He would be an offense to many, the “rock of offense.” We actually should be more bold through the Holy Spirit to publicly address (in a loving way) these types of actions because they are spiritual problems and issues. We are told to be the light in the darkness of the world, no matter the persecution we were told would happen.

        May the Comforter give His peace and hope to all who are grieving.

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