Actually, evil strikes every day. But some days evil is so horrific that it’s headlined on the evening news.
This past weekend five shootings across the US made the news.
Three separate shootings occurred outside the Milwaukee Bucks arena following their loss to the Boston Celtics in game 6. Fortunately, no one died. But 29 were injured.
On Sunday afternoon a shooter killed one person and wounded five others at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California.
But the most horrendous attack was at a Tops supermarket in a Buffalo, NY neighborhood. Ten people were killed and three critically injured by a gunman who shielded himself with body armor.
From the shooter’s own writings and by the nature of the attacks it is believed that he’s a white supremacist, and the shooting was racially motivated. Most likely, he’s also a sociopath, who had been treated last year for mental illness.
These incidents, especially the one in Buffalo, will raise many questions (again) regarding gun control, treating mental illness, and how to prevent mass shootings from reoccurring.
It also causes people to cry, “Why?”
Social, cultural, and psychological analysis only offer surface answers. The problem lies in the age-old issue of evil. Evil exists. Evil is real. Evil hearts filled with evil intentions commit evil acts.
The Bible accounts the problem of evil from the very beginning when Adam and Eve sinned. When Cain killed Abel. And when it was said that the earth was filled with wickedness and the thoughts and intentions of man were “evil continually” (Gen. 6:5).
This observation often leads people to question God and wonder “Why does God allow evil?”
This subject has captured my attention since I’m working on a sermon for a summer series on this subject. Here we can only offer two brief thoughts.
#1 Don’t blame God for evil. Its inception and intention lie at the doorstep of the Devil. It was Satan who afflicted righteous Job and brought sickness, suffering, and pain upon him and his household. God is the giver of good gifts. Satan is the source of sin, wickedness, and wretchedness.
The Bible says that the Devil entered into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus (Jn. 13:2). The Devil is a deceiver who desires to “sift you like wheat” (Lk. 22;31). The devil is a liar. A murderer. And a schemer. He is the instigator of every evil deed. The author of confusion. The inciter of riots. The agitator of racial discord. And the mischief-maker troubling our homes, dividing our churches, and corrupting our hearts.
The Bible admonition is clear–“don’t give the devil a foothold.” Resist Him. Oppose him. And flee from him (Eph. 4:27; 6:11; Jas. 4;7). Of course, a world that doesn’t believe in or respect God, will not pay much attention to this advice. But, as Christians, we can. And we must.
#2 God made us creatures of choice. It has been observed that choice is both “our greatest blessing and our worst curse.” Unlike the animal kingdom, mankind has free will. Volition. Intellect. Conscience. And the ability to choose right from wrong. Good or evil. Righteousness or unrighteousness.
Moses’ exhortation to ancient Israel is still relevant today. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil…blessing and cursing, therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deut. 30:15-20).
Often seemingly small choices regarding what we read, with whom we associate, what we listen to, and what our minds dwell upon, often lead to catastrophic choices that alter our lives forever and irreparably harm and hurt others.
With unlimited access to propaganda, pornography, and pernicious sources that corrupt the mind, inflame the heart, and darken the soul, there’s little wonder that evil occurs in such a dramatic fashion.
For each of us, the admonition of the wise man is still a deterrent to evil dominating our lives. “Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman