Saturday, January 12, 2013

What can we do about evil?

Back in the mid 1960’s, “Get Smart” was a popular TV sitcom.  It was a funny show; certainly better than most of what currently passes for “entertainment”, in my opinion anyway.  The show was a spoof of such classic spy thrillers as the “Man from U.N.C.L.E” series and the James Bond movies.  This basic premise provided a comic vehicle for the escapades of the bungling protagonist, Maxwell Smart, as he battled the agents of the sinister spy organization “KAOS”.  Just a few years ago a movie was released capitalizing on the popularity of this TV series, incorporating the same name and characters.  The film opened with a narrator uttering the phrase “There has always been a delicate balance between chaos and control.  Now with that balance threatened, it’s time to turn to one man.” Essentially this introduction provides the backdrop for both the TV show and the movie; a light-hearted framework to depict the prototypical story line of good guys versus bad guys.
Unfortunately, the actual history of the epic struggle between good and evil is not so uplifting.  Shortly before the “Get Smart” series came on the scene, Nikita Khrushchev was the leader of the Communist party in Russia.  One of the reasons he had moved up the ranks within the party was the manner in which he handled an assignment he had received from Josef Stalin.  Shortly after World War II, he was sent to put down a rebellion by Ukrainian nationalists.  He performed this duty with such enthusiasm he earned the nickname “The Butcher of the Ukraine”, and subsequently placed himself in position of influence within the Communist party.  One of the moments for which he is most remembered is the day he stood before the United Nations and pounded his shoe on the table in an attempt to intimidate the representatives of the other countries.  He even brought the U.S. to the very edge of nuclear war when the military actions he initiated triggered the Cuban Missile Crisis.  To Americans he was frightening; his political rhetoric and aggressive actions posed a true threat to the American way of life, and he seemed to be the very embodiment of evil.
Recently, we Americans have all been shocked by the incomprehensible shootings which took place in Colorado and Connecticut.  I’m sure it seems to most of us that evil is more prevalent then ever, and that the “bad guys” are winning the day.  But we must understand that there has always been and always will be evil in this sin-stained world.  As C.S Lewis so aptly stated, we Christians live in “enemy occupied territory”, and thus we should not be surprised there is a cosmic struggle taking place between good and evil.
 Edmund Burke, an English statesman of the 1700’s, said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.  The question is, what do we do when confronted with evil?  The Bible provides two definitive responses. One: Do not fear!  The Apostle Paul exhorted the Christians of his day to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! What an admonition for us today!  In a day where men’s hearts fail for fear we must realize as Christians that if God be with us, whom shall we fear!  This trust in our God provides us the impetus to perform the second response:  Do good!  Jesus Himself urged His followers to combat evil by.. . .doing good! (Mt 5:16 and Mt 5:44, among numerous others)
Evil will always be in our world.  What are we to do?  Exactly what our forefathers did during those perilous days of the war for independence.  Put our faith in God, for we know He is sovereign.  Realize whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s (Rom 14:8); and taking confidence in these things. . . . . do good!

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