Guest contributor: Ed Trego
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”(Ephesians 6:10-11)
By all accounts Adolf Hitler killed nearly six million Jews during his reign. What many don’t know is that it was not the Jews alone that he brutally murdered. In addition to somewhere between five and six million Jews, he also slaughtered about two million Poles, between five hundred thousand and one million Serbs, about two hundred and fifty thousand disabled, hundreds of thousands of Free Masons, 100,000 communists, approximately 25,000 homosexual men, and about 2000 Jehovah’s Witnesses. In other words, just about anyone who didn’t fit his mold of who was worthy to be part of the Third Reich. Yet, history books of today rarely, if ever, refer to him as evil.
Joseph Stalin, in establishing communism in Russia killed somewhere between twenty and sixty million people. Still, evil is rarely the word history books use to describe him.
In 1994 Hutu “militia” killed approximately eight hundred thousand Tutsi citizens, calling them “cockroaches” as they brutally raped, beat and hacked them to death with machetes. The United Nations refused to call it a genocide; that would have required that some action be taken to stop it. Again, evil was a word rarely used except by those who suffered from the genocidal killings.
On September 11, 2001 over 3000 people died as the result of a radical Islamist terrorist attack on the United States using passenger planes as their weapons. Thousands of innocent people were murdered simply for going to work that day. The United States eventually went to war as a result and yet the word evil was rarely heard.
On December 14, 2012, a young man walked into a school in Newtown, Connecticut and brutally murdered twenty grade school children and six adults. He had earlier killed his mother in their home. Evil didn’t make it into the headlines as the cause.
In the aftermath of many of these, and other horrific events, there is virtually never a mention of the evil that prompted these actions. The news media take their usual path of speculating without facts, interviewing those who had no knowledge of the event and bringing in everyone they could find to discuss the causes and means of preventing such atrocities in the future. All in their 24/7 news style, with little regard for the families and friends of those so brutally taken.
Some call for more restrictive gun laws and some cry for better treatment of the mentally ill. Perhaps there is some benefit to be gained in each of these efforts, but what is truly troublesome is that in all of the reporting and speculating I can recall no outcry against the evil growing in our society. By all definitions, acts such as these are evil, but no one seems to realize that. Or if they do, they chose to ignore it.
From the Columbine killings to the Virginia Tech shootings, to the movie house shootings in Denver, I heard no one in the news organizations discuss the fact that there is and always has been evil in the world and those perpetrating these monstrous acts are among those who are evil. Dare I say they might even be possessed by demons”
Imagine the outrage if someone publicly stated and reported the fact that these acts were committed by evil people. If a reporter speculated that perhaps the efforts in this country to remove God from all aspects of public life was a part of the cause of these atrocities, they would be in danger of losing their job. Yet, failure to recognize and identify evil when it occurs opens the door for Satan and his minions to fill the void. However, in today’s society, acknowledging the existence of evil is not politically correct and is unacceptable in public discourse. Satan must be loving the depths to which our society has plunged. No one ever thinks to place the blame for evil squarely on his shoulders.
From all of this comes the fact that we, as a culture, fail to recognize evil in the world. Even if we should recognize it, we fail to name it for what it is. We blame a difficult childhood, or the influence of others, or virtually anything we can think of to keep from using the forbidden determination of evil. We say we can’t judge, yet to stop evil we must recognize and confront it.
“Satan made me do it” is a laughable cliché in our society. However, the fact is, Satan will take every opportunity to make us, or convince us, to commit evil. He convinced Cain to kill his brother. He convinced David to commit adultery with Bathsheba and then have her husband killed so that he could take her for his wife. Satan prompted Herod to send his troops to Bethlehem to kill all male babies in an effort to kill Jesus because he thought him a threat to his kingship. Under Satan’s direction and influence, Judas betrayed Christ. Satan convinced the Jewish religious leaders to falsely accuse Jesus of treason against Caesar in order to have him brutally murdered by hanging on a cross.
Today, we see evil wherever we look, if we only chose to look. Mostly we turn aside and pretend not to see. We find excuses for the evil that is done. We ignore the hundreds of inner city teens and children who are murdered every year. We want to find a medical or psychological illness to treat in those who would brutally abuse children rather than punish them. We’ve reached the point of not wanting to punish evil. We actually refuse to punish it in many cases, claiming the punishment is worse than the crime. We will explain it, treat it, accept it, but we are loathe to punish it.
Every year thousands of innocent babies are torn from their mother’s wombs and thrown in the trash. This is the very definition of evil. Yet it is the mothers and fathers who seek out this horror. So we call it a right to privacy; the woman’s right to choose. What of the babies rights? The most basic of all rights, the right to live is stolen and it’s legal in this country. Not only is it legal, those who speak out against it are the ones considered evil for wanting to deprive a woman of the right to kill her own child. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) I can envision Jesus welcoming these innocent souls into his kingdom. But what of those who perpetrate this evil? It is my fervent hope that they will come to realize the evil they have done and repent of their actions. Some have done so and are some of the strongest voices against the continuing evil of abortion.
What are we, as Christians, to do in a society which has chosen to force God out and ignore the presence of Satan? Can we also turn a blind eye? If we do, are we not enabling the evil of those who perpetrate these acts? Is our inaction actually encouraging their evil? Failure to confront evil makes us an enabler no less than refusing to confront the drug addition of one we love. In our society, evil is like a cancer, it continues to grow unless eliminated. We would perhaps question the mental state of one who would choose to ignore a cancer growing within them, yet we ignore the cancer growing within our society.
The starting point to correct these wrongs is within each of us. We must make a commitment to confront evil whenever possible. If we continue to remain silent our society, our culture, and our nation will suffer. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah failed to recognize this and paid a terrible price (see Genesis 19). On the other hand, the people of Nineveh chose to listen to the warning of Jonah and repented of their evil and were saved. The book of Jonah is one of the shortest books in the Bible. Take a few minutes to read it. You will read of a nation perhaps approaching the state of Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet when Jonah warned of their coming doom, the people and their leaders listened and repented of their evil ways. They saved their lives and turned back to God.
We are offered the same choice as Nineveh. We can repent of the evil in our society and actually do something to stop it or we can go the way of Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s up to us, we have the choice. God will accept whatever choice we make and we will enjoy the benefits or suffer the condemnation appropriate to that choice.
Let’s chose to be Nineveh. Let us listen to the warnings of God and change our lives. Let’s confront the evil in our society and force it out. We have the power. We can elect those leaders who will stand with us rather than those who stand against us or take no stand at all. But it requires us to be committed rather than just turn a blind eye.
Let us choose to stand with God! If we stand with Him, He will stand with us.
“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalms 34:15-17)