Confronting the Evil
“Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one, a parent, a child, a brother or sister.
We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you…In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one, and it always has. May God bless the souls of the lives that are lost, may God give us the grace of healing and may God provide the grieving families with strength to carry on.”
What can a Christian do about the evil that is infesting our society?
The parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matthew 13 provides some helpful instruction.
The source of evil
Jesus identifies Satan as the one who sows weeds in the field in an attempt to choke out the good seed. Jesus calls him plainly the enemy. He is in rebellion against God and seeks to destroy God's people.
Satan is a formidable foe. He is a crafty, devious counterfeiter. To defeat him we must be strong in the Lord and put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-12). He cannot be defeated by our efforts alone.
The reaction of the typical Christian
The servants in the parable wanted to do something. They were angry. "Let's pull up the weeds, before they choke out the wheat," they insisted.
That's our initial reaction. Let's go do something! We're weary of the world beating up on us. More importantly, we're tired of the world blaspheming Jesus Christ.
Well-meaning but overly aggressive and angry Christians sometimes do more harm than good. They start flailing away at evil but then damage the potential for harvest.
When we fight in the flesh, people of the world get the idea that we're the enemy. God doesn't hate the pornographer, the abortionist, or the drug pusher. He loves them and wants them to repent. As God's people, our attitude should be the same.
The Lord's response to evil
When the servants asked the owner if they should pull up the weeds, he said no, because the roots of the weeds were so interwoven with the roots of the wheat that much of the crop would be destroyed.
Jesus told another parable about a man who swept a demon out of his house. But he left the house vacant, and soon the demon returned with seven demons worse than him (Matthew 12:45). The obvious truth is that we must do more than eradicate evil. A vacuum attracts more evil. Our efforts must focus on filling the world with truth, righteousness, the Word of God, and prayer. Our concern should be with sowing the good seed and preparing for a positive harvest.
I ask a neighbor of mine whose grass was always lush and green.
"How do you keep all the crabgrass, chickweed, and dandelions out of your yard?" I asked.
"Well," he said, "I used to use some weed killer. But I'll tell you a secret that's worked for me-I just sow grass seed heavily every spring and then water it like mad. A good stand of grass chokes out most of the weeds."
I'm convinced the best way to eliminate evil is to sow the seed of the gospel so effectively that wickedness gets choked out.
Instead of being reactionaries trying to counter every move of Satan, Christians should be activists, diligently sowing the seed of the gospel, and remembering that we're not to be overcome with evil but are to overcome evil with good.
The apostle Paul described the Christian strategy: "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Time to Consider
l. In your opinion, what are the three biggest evils facing our world today?
2. What are the benefits and risks of letting "wheat and weeds" grow side by side?
3. What can you do to "take every thought captive for Christ" in one of these three areas?
Pastor Paul Leavens