A commercial airliner is shot down over Ukraine. 298 people tragically lost their lives. And pro-Moscow separatists tied to Russian President Putin are alleged to be the perpetrators of this horrific act of violence.
At the same time we are witnessing another bloody conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The latest confrontation was sparked by the murder of three young Jewish boys and the possible revenge when an 18-year-old Palestinian teen was murdered.
While all this is captivating the world stage, people are flooding across our southern boarders. While many are children, there are thugs, drug dealers and human traffickers exploiting the situation.
Then almost pushed off the news cycle is the threat of Iran building a nuclear weapon.
Few would deny these are unsettling times. There is conflict, confusion, and conformation. It seems almost everywhere. Indeed we live in an evil, chaotic world.
As we wrestle with the eternal question of “why evil exists,” many want to mock God. Blame God. Deny there is a God.
“Why would a good God allow innocent children to suffer?” a hurting parent asks.
The suffering families of those on downed Malaysian flight MH 17 wonder how this happened? Who did it? And why? Why their loved ones?
There is even tension from a distance among those who take sides in disputes. A female Jewish doctor was thrown off of a Jet Blue flight when she and another Palestinian woman got into a heated argument. The Jewish doctor is claiming she is a victim of antisemitism.
Yes, evil exits. That’s obvious. But explaining evil is more difficult.
In The Case for Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote, “God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong, but I can’t. If a thing is free to be good it’s also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having,” Lewis also observed that evil isn’t an absolute; it needs good. It’s a parasite that rides on good.”
The Bible records the origin and spread of evil. Evil entered the world when Eve succumbed to Satan’s temptation to disobey God. Evil caused Cain to kill Abel. Abraham to lie. David to fornicate. Israel to worship Idols.
It was evil that killed Christ. The Pharisees and religious leaders’ hearts were filled with envy. Evil entered the heart of the betrayer who sold Jesus out for thirty pieces of silver. Evil weakened the resolve of Peter who denied his Lord three times. Evil witnesses were paid to perjure themselves. An evil High Priest that circumvented the law. An evil court that ignored justice. An evil governor knew Jesus was not guilty.
Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt 15:19) He called the devil “the evil one” (John 17:15). And the Bible teaches that the devil can enter our hearts to commit evil acts (John 15:2). Of course, we don’t have to submit to his enticements.
We have the power within us to accept good and reject evil. Moses reminded God’s people they had a choice between good and evil, blessing and cursing, and life and death. He challenged them to choose good so they could live and enjoy God’s blessing. (Deut 30:15-20).
Maybe instead of wringing our hands about appalling evil acts in the world, we ought to look within our own hearts. At our anger. Lust. Greed. Pride. Laziness. Indifference. And even hypocrisy.
G. K. Chesterton once wrote about evil in a way that may make us uncomfortable, “Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.”
Since Satan prowls around like a hungry lion, looking for prey, and recruiting those who would serve his evil agenda, we must be alert (1Pet 5:8) and guard our hearts with diligence (Prov. 4:23).
We can’t stop the chaos in the world, but we can find God’s peace in our own hearts. We can’t eradicate the evil in the world, but we can choose to do good and be good.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman