Responding to Evil (Part 2)

In this broken world, each of us will, at some point, face the vicious assault of evil in our own lives. Such attacks may be physical, emotional, or spiritual (or all three!). And when we are unjustly besieged, we are often tempted to respond in a number of unhealthy ways.

When we are maliciously attacked, we may be tempted to cower in shame and humiliation.

An evil act performed against us may cause us to lose sight of the intrinsic worth we have as God’s creatures fashioned in His image. We may think that this evil has happened to us because there is something wrong with us, or perhaps because we just aren’t worth protecting.

This line of thinking can gain traction because most of us are painfully aware of many serious faults in our own lives. Thoughts like, “I’m worthless. God will never work through me. I’m irredeemable, and that’s why this happened to me,” may seem to us to be based on some element of truth.

David himself had some pretty major failings in his own life (adultery and murder are kind of a big deal). Yet he would not let the personal attacks he was receiving cause him to live in shame and humiliation. In Psalm 3:3, David declares:

But you, Lord, are… my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Psalm 3:3

An evil attack against us is just that, an evil attack. It does not mean that God has rejected us as His children.

When we are the victims of the evil actions of others, we may be tempted to close ourselves off in a world void of emotion and characterized by relational distance.

Author, pastor, and scholar Jack Deere writes about the near impossibility of processing his father’s suicide as a 12 year-old boy.

My father had been my hero, my image of what it meant to be a man. He was strong and he was smart. Life without him was unimaginable. That is probably why I never really grieved: in order to grieve, you have to face the reality of your loss, and that was too scary for me. No one was there to tell me that you couldn’t heal unless you grieve. God was there, but it never occurred to me to pray to Him. He wouldn’t give me my father back, so what was the use of asking? Pain and confusion puddled in the bottom of my heart. I never troubled those dark waters again. I stepped around them with a vow to be strong, never to need anyone again. Jack Deere, The Beginner’s Guide to the Gift of Prophecy

Some of us have responded to evil in our lives by retreating emotionally from people and from God. But David didn’t bottle up his emotions or become passive and indifferent toward God. His psalms are full of intense expressions of emotion. In Psalm 3:4 we find him earnestly, even confidently, pursuing God

I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.

We must not allow the evil that has happened to us callous our hearts in unfeeling cynicism. God can heal our hearts and enable us to engage Him with healthy emotion.

2 Comments

  1. So how does one grieve? I’ve spent a year wrestling with the pain of rejection and false accusations. I’ve struggled with the thought that perhaps they are right and something is drastically wrong with me but I can’t seem to move past anything nor can I let anyone in till I figure it out. the truth is what I seek but God seems content to let me wrestle in darkness. What if God’s plan isn’t to redeem me? I’ve been told I have the gift of prophecy but I don’t understand cause every time I open my mouth I get condemned so whats the point? Maybe I don’t know anything to the people around me but I do know God loves me and when I die he will redeem me. I know God is good and I give him the glory for the good in my life. Its people that aren’t good.

    • Hi Monica,

      These are important and thoughtful questions. As Jesus reminded His disciples, “In this world you will have trouble.” But I am most encouraged by what He says next. “But take heart. I have overcome the world!” I always try to direct all my grieving toward Jesus because I know: 1) He is intimately familiar with suffering; 2) He loves me deeply; 3) He has the power to bring healing to my heart.

      So I would encourage you to continue pursuing Jesus for the healing and life He can bring. I would also encourage you to find a couple of key people that will stand with you as you seek Christ. Even Jesus wanted His closest three disciples to pray with Him during the dark hours before His arrest. May God meet you with His grace as you seek Him.

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