What Do We Do When Evil Strikes?
Habakkuk has been teaching us that everything that comes into our lives--the stuff we like, the stuff we don’t like--has first come through God’s office.
Habakkuk 1.6 and 12 are powerful reminders that it is He who sent the Babylonians to Jerusalem. This hard thing, as well as the happy things, had first come across God’s desk and He allowed it to come to His people.
God has purposes for all He permits into our lives. Even sinful acts and words against us like the Babylonians, these feared, dreaded, self-worshipers bent on destruction. Even Judas’ infamous, despicable sinful kiss.
All of God’s permissions are purposeful. For His greater Glory, and for our ultimate good.
But what do we do now, today, when people act mean toward us? When they say harsh things to us or speak wickedly behind our backs? When someone close sins grievously against us? What do we do when evil strikes, evil permitted by God, ploughs into our lives? What do we do when the rubber of evil hits the road of our lives?
Do we sit passively, accepting our fate?
Do we resign ourselves to deserving this evil?
Do we curse God and die?
Pastor John Piper has done some good bible work here. How do we react to critical, cutting words or abusive behaviors, violence, neglect or vengefulness?
He shares eight things to do with evil and four ways to never respond:
1. Expect evil. “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
2. Endure evil. “Love bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7; cf. Mark 13:13).
3. Give thanks for the refining effect of evil that comes against you. “Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Romans 5:3-5).
4. Hate evil. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
5. Pray for escape from evil. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
6. Expose evil. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
7. Overcome evil with good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
8. Resist evil. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
But, on the other hand:
1. Never despair that this evil world is out of God’s control. “[He] works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).
2. Never give in to the sense that because of random evil life is absurd and meaningless. “How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! . . . For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever” (Romans 11:33,36).
3. Never yield to the thought that God sins, or is ever unjust or unrighteous in the way he governs the universe. “The Lord is righteous in all His ways.” (Psalm 145:17).
4. Never doubt that God is totally for you in Christ. If you trust him with your life, you are in Christ. Never doubt that all the evil that befalls you—even if it takes your life—is God’s loving, purifying, saving, fatherly discipline. It is not an expression of His punishment in wrath. That fell on Jesus Christ our substitute. “The Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6).
What would you add to these practical helps when evil sweeps into your life?