Thursday, December 20, 2012

Evil That Lurks In The Heart Of Men

“What evil lurks in the heart of men? Only the Shadow knows.” So goes the quote, a reminder from an old radio show, a generation ago, that we never know how, when and through whom, evil will show its presence. And now from Connecticut in a small quiet town we have another reminder of this ugly truth as our nation struggles with a horrific spectacle that claimed the lives of some of its youngest citizens. Daily, we are deluged with the advice of “experts” who attempt to analyze the events in an attempt to make some rhyme or reason out of it. Officials on every level, while denouncing the acts of a crazed individual, seek to impose measures that will insure that such tragedy will never again happen in our society. Occasionally the conversation turns to someone perceived to have some religious base, with the inevitable question of “Where was God that day?” Indeed, such questions are not to be unexpected as our society attempts to make sense of things. However, when someone of note suggests that the fault lies not in God but in the sinful nature of all mankind who walk this earth, he is instantly vilified and ridiculed.

Nonetheless, the Bible points out that evil is in the heart of men—all men. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And again in Romans 3:10 we hear, “There is none righteous, no not one”. Jeremiah put it this way, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” But our society is no friend of such truth. The attempt to force God out of our schools and all public settings has been increasingly successful. With our society growing ever more secular every day it is not surprising that the idea that the shooter in Connecticut and other isolated individuals like him are not the only ones that have to deal with evil, but that there is evil in each one of us, is not readily accepted. It is easier to accept the idea that if we can only identify the "at risk" people of this world and keep them from getting guns or other weapons we can fix the problem than to accept the fact that the real problem is that evil lies in each of us and unless it is dealt with through the Grace of God, it threatens to break through at any time undoing relationships, destroying families, erupting in crimes of all description and even resulting in mass murder. 

Genesis chapter six describes the fall from grace by the first two human beings who walked this earth. The temptation was simple. All they had to do was to disobey God in one little seemingly minor thing and they would be as God. To this they agreed, as testified by their actions and each and every one of us has been ever since attempting to be our own authority—our own God. The book of Judges repeats a phrase constantly describing the condition of Israel before there was a king. This phrase which goes as this: “There was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes”accurately describes our society today. The the moral code that has been passed down through our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage is constantly being challenged, and being replaced with the idea that everyone is justified to act as he feels fit."Every one is to do what is right in his own eyes". When such is the common thinking, how can we not expect that evil will come out even in the least expected places?

Despite the explanation of man’s basic sinfulness or rather because of the fact our society generally rejects it, the question remains of God’s seemingly unwillingness or inability to intervene in such a quiet town filled with mostly good people. The suggestion that sin is to blame seems to most that this was an act of judgment from God. The question that sticks out the most is, “How could an all powerful loving God stand by and do nothing for these innocent people?” The answer is that two thousand years ago, He did. He sent His Son into the world to live the only sinless life ever lived by a man. And at Calvary, God poured out His love as His Son died to break the power of evil and to provide forgiveness to any who will receive Him (see John 1:12). Yet so very few receive this gift so freely offered of forgiveness and a new life that overcomes the evil within us because so few of us will admit the evil is there. Even churches that claim to hold to the Gospel, wanting to seem more relevant to modern culture, downplay the sinfulness that resides in each of us. The result is that the message is not clear and evil continues to triumph.

While we will never know all the details of the events in Connecticut or what caused the shooter to go over the edge or even why this little town was singled out, the Bible tells us that the evil in each of us is real. We may try to repress it and even have some success (in our eyes at least) of doing so, but it threatens to break out at any moment. Only the blood of Jesus can make the difference. Only the blood of Jesus can take evil away. As long as we deny its presence, we deny the love God showed when He sent His Son. I am sure God and His angels wept long and hard that day in Connecticut, but they will rejoice whenever a “whosoever” receives Jesus as Lord and Savior into his or her heart. Will you come, simply recognizing the sin in your own life, not comparing yourself to anyone else, simply trusting what Jesus did at Calvary and inviting Him to come into your life? The Bible says everyone that comes becomes a light. We need a multitude of lights who live in the power of Jesus Christ to hold off the darkness of evil which is in our world today. Will you become one? Put away your excuses and open your heart to Jesus. John 1:12 "But as many as received Him to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed in His name."

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