Monday, February 3, 2014

Evil, Meet Good, Your Worst Enemy

There is one truth that confounds me more and more as I grow older, and that is the reality of evil. Bad things do not lessen in intensity; they only grow. This is especially true to a maturing mind, for as one grows older, more implications are found in evil deeds. 

For instance, when one is young, seeing the story of a murder on TV comes across as confusing, but when one is older, it comes across as tragically demoralizing. Evil may still confound and confuse maturing people, but I think that its impact on society and ourselves is the chief concern of a maturing person. It’s hard to not take evil to heart.

I hate how this world enjoys draining good people dry. 

Then again, it makes me wonder: am I included in the evil I see? I may like to think of myself as a “good person,” but am I capable of evil? Of course I am.

I may not be out among the riffraff, but I can certainly contribute to the evil I see if I would simply fail to do what is right. Every time I fail, evil prevails. 

Every time a murderer fails to rethink their decision to kill, evil prevails. Every time a thief fails to stop stealing, evil prevails.

So it’s not so much about the increase of evil; it’s about the decrease of good. When we do good, evil loses.

It doesn’t help, though, that so much evil is done by others. We may be able to keep ourselves relatively “good,” but how can we compete with everyone who does evil? How can we stop a killer who has the means to do harm to those we love? How can we diminish the evil in others?

Is nihilism the only response to this reality?

“This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17-18)

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18)

Are these passages of hope the answer to our problems?

They seem so groundless. How can we verify their validity and certainty?

Well, we can’t verify them because if we could, there would be no need for faith. In some strange plan, God desires us to come to him and trust him by faith alone--without the conviction of proof. Does that negate the hope for the goodness of Heaven that awaits us beyond the evil world in which we live? Certainly not!

How can it? If we truly believe that this evil that we despair of now will pale in comparison to the eternal good that awaits us, how can it negate our hope?

How can a temporary pain negate the joys of eternal goodness?

As we continue to witness the evil that plagues the world, I think it’s wise to remember that the future hope of Heaven is available to those who trust God. The power of evil pales in comparison to the power of Jesus. Likewise, the reward that faith in him brings diminishes the failures of this evil world. 

When we fail, we let evil win, but we know that one day failure will no longer be an option. So why focus on failure? What good will come from constantly focusing on failure? 

So I ask again, how can we diminish the evil in others? 

We must meet evil with good. Of course, when we do good, there is no guarantee that evil will not find us, but at least we will meet that evil with good. After all, one act of goodness might be all a person needs to see to turn from their evil. Maybe in some way, our doing good will affect others, but even so, what matters is how we respond to such evil, not how they respond to us. 

Changing people should never be our goal. Our goal should be to introduce them to a freeing Goodness that is far more appetizing than the evil that entraps them.

What else is there for a good person to do in the face of evil than to be good? God has always been good, and he calls us to be good as well. We will fail, yes, but like I said before, it’s not about our failures. What matters is how much we love the good and reject the evil. Our failures cannot overwhelm God’s goodness, which is what ultimately matters.

We can trust God to do the good thing, even if we are prone to despair of the evil around us and in us. Our future is in his hands, and it would be wise to remember that his goodness is the only way in which we can access it. Entering into Heaven is not up to our lack of failures. We may feel undeserving of the glorious future that awaits us in Heaven, but our own self-perceptions are nullified in the presence of God’s perceptions. 

He says, “Welcome,” and it is wise to accept it. We may not feel deserving of such a welcome, but he welcomes us nonetheless. No more evil will plague us, and no more failures will entrap us. What we despair of now will not even be in the picture!

I want to live with my eyes on the future goodness that awaits and continue to meet evil with good--despite the cost. Let’s show people God, the Goodness that is more appetizing than evil.

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