Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 8.12.15 – Is Everything Good Vs. Evil?

good evil

Everyone loves a good story with a great hero. Usually sly villains enhance these stories, bringing genius contrast to the hero’s strengths. Tonight, a pointed question: does all of life have to fit this script?

If positive influence requires a villain, I say yikes. Let me suggest three Scriptural points for consideration.

1. We have a common enemy.

Back before Derek Webb’s personal life took him down paths that soured me on supporting him, he wrote a song called A King And A Kingdom. The last stanza of the songs reads like this:

But nothing unifies like a common enemy
And we’ve got one, sure as hell
But he may be living in your house
He may be raising up your kids
He may be sleeping with your wife
Oh no, he may not look like you think

The point of the song challenges our hearts: as believers and members of God’s kingdom, do we need earthly enemies or titles to bolster our label as Christians or does our status in Christ bring us all the confidence we need? Satan is our enemy, not whoever conservative media may present as the enemy of the week.

2. We must discern human enemies of Christ and Christians.

How do we react when someone opposes a Christian? A rival coach or nagging boss, someone in leadership, politics, or other areas of influence can all bring varying levels of difference and testing. But must they take on the “villain” status?

Sometimes enemies are enemies. They seek to kill or destroy, using threat or force. They wreak havoc in people’s lives, leaving life long scars. Stopping these enemies is public common sense.

But Biblically and practically, we must know and admit that even these types of enemies can change due to the power of Christ and direct intervention of God. Saul of Tarsus repented of his murderous ways to pursue Christ, eventually used by God to write half the New Testament. Drug dealers, criminals, serial killers, and enemy members of opposing religions have all found Christ.

And if radical enemies can find conversion, how about those with whom we simply disagree or don’t like so much? Have we shut out the possibility that society has some use for their gifts and passions because we fail to see eye to eye? Has the “villain” status we’ve attached choked off any thought in our mind that they can contribute in positive ways?

 

Part of understanding our foes must involve praying for their well being. Jesus’ commandment to pray for our enemies, even those rightly called villains, should strike at the hatred and divisiveness which can fester in the depths of our souls.

3. Challenge: What if we tried to look on others with love, hope, and belief?

To be honest, I grow weary of categories. Here’s why: I’ve seen so many good things come from what I would have so quickly labeled as unlikely sources. I’ve had disagreements with folks, and relationships have changed. And guess what? Even though they didn’t see it my way God is still using them. Gasp!

I Corinthians 13 famously states that love hopes and believes all things. I Peter 4 reminds us of love’s ability to cover a multitude of sins. Applied to unbelievers, we should hope and pray for their change, resorting to defense and truth telling only when necessary and always doused in love. Can we pray that the great love of Jesus Christ will reach the people to whom we find ourselves most opposed?

Applied to believers, I hope disagreement isn’t limited to the choices of good or evil. I hope instead the approach has love and charity at its foundation. When we start to see others first by differences, we cheat ourselves of the opportunity to see their gifts fully used. We must remember the grace of God looms much larger than our sharpest criticism or the sting of our muddy fallout.

Summary: I shudder to think how Jesus would look on me if He used the sometimes sinful and limited standards of harshness I place on others.

Think. In your thinking, how much do categories, labels, or the past limit your ability to hope on behalf of others? Is everything good vs. evil?

Act. Begin to pray for those you don’t like, for those violently opposed, and for those you don’t understand. Do the hard work of getting to know others before affixing labels that limit. Rather, plead for the power of the Spirit to exceed possibilities we’ve imagined.

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