What happens when evil is ignored? It perpetuates wicked outcomes. Just prior to World War II, we ignored the evil that people saw in Germany as Adolf Hitler made ready his military to invade the surrounding countries. Evil doesn’t go away … it comes back again in another generation with a new name and a new face. Jesus taught us to pray, “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
When Jesus told this story about what happens when an evil spirit leaves a person and then returns:
When a defiling evil spirit is expelled from someone, it drifts along through the desert looking for an oasis, some unsuspecting soul it can bedevil. When it doesn’t find anyone, it says, ‘I’ll go back to my old haunt.’ On return it finds the person spotlessly clean, but vacant. It then runs out and rounds up seven other spirits more evil than itself and they all move in, whooping it up. That person ends up far worse off than if he’d never gotten cleaned up in the first place. “That’s what this generation is like: You may think you have cleaned out the junk from your lives and gotten ready for God, but you weren’t hospitable to my kingdom message, and now all the devils are moving back in.”Matthew 12:43-45-43-45 The Message (MSG)
Now, think about this in terms of nations. For example, America has had the Gospel preached between its borders since the inception of this country. Once the church lost its foothold in America, we began to see the return of evil on a massive scale. Christians, at one point, shaped American law along with government policies concerning humanitarian aid and care. Atheists and secular-minded people are usually never the driving force behind any disaster relief efforts when a catastrophic event hits our land. Evil and evil-minded people only care about their influence on people.
Evil has its best days when it goes unnoticed or is ignored by the public. One of the hardest things we read in the Old Testament is when God tells Israel to go into the land and kill every man, woman, and child. To our modern world, this act of killing communities of people is barbaric. Yet, the influence of these people was evil, and the influence of their wickedness would have been a hindrance to God’s people and their plan to live in the land. Some people are too wicked and are totally entrenched in evil and unredeemable. Are some people beyond God’s help and beyond being redeemed? Such was the case with the people in the land, and God told Israel to wipe them all out and leave no trace of their influence. Here’s a comment about people being killed by God:
Why was it right for God to slaughter women and children in the Old Testament? How can that ever be right? It's right for God to slaughter women and children anytime he pleases. God gives life and he takes life. Everybody who dies, dies because God wills that they die. God is taking life every day. He will take 50,000 lives today. Life is in God's hand. God decides when your last heartbeat will be, and whether it ends through cancer or a bullet wound. God governs. So God is God! He rules and governs everything. And everything he does is just and right and good. God owes us nothing. ~John Piper, Author/Pastor
Okay, John Pipe is right … God owes us nothing. That may be a bit harsh in our ‘me first’ society today, but in the end, God has the final say. We can bristle against the idea that our lives are ultimately in His hands, but that argument will never be won. Scriptures teach us that we are to fear Him who has the power over all life and all death.
Luke 12:5 But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.
So, we are not to fear evil, but we are not to ignore it either. What has happened to the church historically in America, is that we have become spiritual pacifists. We like to take in the positives and ignore the negatives. You cannot live life that way … you will eventually be overrun by evil in the face of you ignoring it. Evil is so much like weeds in your lawn … you never planted them, but every spring there they are blooming and thriving. Do nothing to those weeds and eventually, your lawn will be nothing but weeds. That is a picture of our society today … the weeds of evil have taken over our society. Why? Christians have ignored the weeds. There indeed are some who pull the weeds, but as time marches on those people are not relevant to society and no one listens to their rhetoric.
Prayer and God's Word are the weapons of our warfare against evil. Think through these few verses to remember we must not ignore that which has such influence on people:
Ephesians 5 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
Stand against Evil
Psalm 94:16 Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will stand for me against those who practice iniquity?
Responsibility to Inform
Ezekiel 3:18 If I say to the wicked, “You shall surely die,” and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.
Friendship with Evil is an Enemy of God
James 4:4 You adulterers! Don’t you know that friendship with the world means hostility with God? So, whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler