We are living in a world filled with all sorts of evil including crime, war, terrorism, racism, and all manner of societal woes. The snowball effect occurs as evil happens and incites yet another act of evil and hatred. As things intensify, many are asking why evil is in the world.
Evil exists in the world because of two primary sources. The devil (referred to as Satan hereafter) is a primary source and has free reign to unleash evil in the world. Secondly, the human heart tends toward sin and wickedness. Many blame God for the bad things that happen, but He is the cure not the cause of evil.
Satan Causes Evil in the World
In layman’s terms, Satan at one time was amongst the elite of heaven. He served as the primary worship leader. He was not content with his status and wanted to be worshipped as God is. The results of his pride were not good. He was kicked out of heaven (Luke 10, Isaiah 14) but not stripped of all power. Instead, he was given the freedom to unleash his ways on earth. His evil ways are first noted in the Bible in Genesis when he tempted Adam and Eve. His days are numbered, and he will be cast into the Lake of Fire, but for now, he has free reign on anyone who does not invoke the power of the Living God to stop the evil.
The Human Heart Contains Evil
The story of Adam and Eve is one most of us know. Satan disguised himself as a snake and convinced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. The action of eating the forbidden fruit allowed sin to enter the human heart for the first time. We now have to contend with our hearts as well as the hearts of others, and the evil that comes from it. You may think you are a good person, certainly compared to ‘fill in the blank’. Yet, the Bible is clear that all of us are plagued with the same issue. Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV) says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it?” Other translations say ‘desperately wicked’ rather than ‘desperately sick’.
Why Doesn’t God Stop the Evil in the World?
Simply put, God has given us free will to make the right choices. We are all born as sinners and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). That predisposes us to sin (to do and think wrong things). It is the power of Christ in us that allows us to turn from sin, to resist the influence of Satan and our thoughts and desires. Not only can you resist your temptations to do evil, but you can become an influencer of good, not evil. Just as evil speech and actions beget more of the same, it is likewise true positive speech and actions snowball in society and begin to hold back the tide of evil.
You Can Help Stop the Evil around You
Am I saying that you have the power to completely stop the evil in the world? No. Evil will continue to exist until the second coming of Christ (John 14:1-3) when Jesus Christ returns and Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20). You do have the ability to turn back the actions on a local or regional level, or if your platform of influence is large enough you may have a more global impact. Start small. Represent good on your local school board. Work in the political arena to demolish evil legislation and propose positive reform. Start a neighborhood crime watch. Mentor inner-city youth who know nothing except a life of crime and violence. Be positive in a world filled with evil.
The ‘power of Christ’ that we need comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, given to us when we accept Christ as our Savior. If you are reading this and do not know Christ, I encourage you to watch this short video explaining how you can know Christ and obtain the power to overcome evil.
A seasoned therapist and counselor, Dr. Mel Tavares serves on staff in the Pastoral Care and Counseling Ministry in her church. She is the author of several books, including Challenged: Equipping Families to Thrive in Today’s Youth Culture. Learn more at drmeltavares.com
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