Promoting Good and Resisting Evil
Christians are called by God to stand against evil. Refusing this call is to break the biblical balance of true Christianity – like breaking off a ceiling fan blade. (We did that once when we were kids. You should’ve seen that thing spin out of control!)
Without the proper balance of promoting good and resisting evil in the church, Christians become incapable of “refreshing the room” of culture.
In the last few months, we’ve been contacted by various national and state political leaders wondering why Christians aren’t engaging the moral issues of the day that seem to decay our nation by the minute. And our answer is simple: We’re missing a key element to the Christian faith: resistance to evil.
Trust us, if we lived in a vacuum where evil didn’t exist, we’d be thrilled to leave off this vital component of our faith – but we can’t.
What if a doctor looked at a person bleeding to death and merely declared how he believes in proper blood flow or not using sharp knives without proper training, but refused to help as the guy dies in front of him? But that doctor was committed to being positive! And then the person bled to death. Do what? That’s ridiculous.
Thank God for examples like William Carey, the 19th-century Baptist missionary to India, who not only started the first university offering degrees in India and became the father of modern missions, but also boldly resisted the evils of Indian culture.
Check out some of his missionary work:
He prodded the Indian government to stand against infanticide, which was based on the worship of the Ganges River, where women believed that if they were blessed with two children, one should be “offered to the river.” He also demanded that India cease the practice of Sati – the ritual of burning alive a widow on the funeral pyre of her deceased husband. He didn’t stop there. He continued pressuring the Indian government to eliminate the practice of drowning lepers, and he fought to end slavery. He also spoke loudly against the caste system.
India was forever changed by the powerful influence of a man who not only promoted good but also resisted evil. For those who say, “I’m just concerned with the ‘gospel,’” Mr. Carey showed us what the whole gospel looks like.
And there are more examples of Christians being motivated by the gospel to resist evil:
- William Wilberforce exposed and resisted the slave trade in Europe.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer resisted the evil of Nazism and the murder of Jews in Germany.
- Martin Luther King Jr. resisted deep-seated racism and segregation in America.
The list goes on. And the common thread in all of these examples was their Christian faith. That was what motivated and empowered them to stand against the evil of their time.
So what about today? What’s missing in Christianity that keeps us on the sidelines while unborn children are being ripped apart limb from limb? What’s preventing us from standing strong for the sacred institution of marriage, which is God’s bedrock for civil society, or simply calling sin a sin?
Is it because Christians just don’t care? We don’t think so. But perhaps we don’t know the Bible like those before us did. Maybe we don’t understand the whole purpose of the gospel and our responsibility as Christians to resist evil.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
“Hate evil, love good, maintain justice in the courts …” (Amos 5:15a).
“Let those who love the Lord hate evil …” (Psalm 97:10a).
“You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else” (Hebrews 1:9).
There are countless teachings and stories from Scripture that not only encourage but command believers to resist evil. But we get it – Christians today want people to know what they’re for not what they’re against. That makes sense, in a vacuum.
Here’s the point: To stand for good is to stand against evil. The two go hand in hand.
We’re all for justice in America. So when I (David) was summoned to jury duty, I was surprised to hear the clinching question that separated those who were fit to be jurors and those who weren’t:
“Are you willing to make a judgment of someone’s actions?”
In other words, are you willing to stand against injustice?
I was surprised to see how many people simply couldn’t answer the question. As a result, they were asked to be dismissed. But what was glaringly obvious to me was that if these people were for justice, they had to be willing to stand against evil by placing a proper judgment upon the offender.
America is hurting today, and we believe the church is largely responsible. We’ve refused to stand against the evil of the day because we want to strike a “positive” image by only standing for good. Yet the hypocrisy of it all is that, if we are going to stand for good, we must stand against evil.
Christians, let’s display true love, as Paul taught us in Romans 12:9, by abhorring what is evil and resisting it firmly. Let’s follow the examples of those who have gone before us and be nation changers just like them!
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net