Politics and the problem of evil
In the wake of the bombings in Boston, the school shooting in Newtown, the ricin-laced envelopes, and the explosion in Texas in just the past week and months, not to mention all of the violence overseas, one has to wonder - where does it end? How do we stop the madness? Yesterday the U.S. Senate did not pass gun control legislation, which angered a lot of people. So many lives have been touched by the pain of violence and hatred, and yet our legal representatives don't seem to be able to do anything to stop it. They could write a thousand laws and still not fix the problem. We could hand over our civil rights in order to gain government protection, but the problems would not go away because they are asking the wrong questions.
The right question is one that as human beings we cannot even answer for ourselves, let alone the rest of the world.
The right question is - what do we do with the problem of evil?
In years past, we've fought wars over this, when evil men have captured and tortured whole nations, when millions of people have been killed just because they bear a certain color or are from a certain race. We rejoice when justice is served and evil put down. But what happens when evil permeates our societies?
In Genesis 6:5-6 we read, "The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled."
God did not intend for us to be wicked. He is grieved by the evil we see around us every day. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He added this phrase, "Deliver us from evil." Some translations interpret this as, "Deliver us from the evil one."
There is a spirit world that we cannot see with human eyes. Angels and demons do exist, and the enemy of our souls, satan (also called an angel of light, the deceiver, the father of lies, and the evil one), stirs up trouble on the earth. People can succumb to his influence or resist it, depending on the choices they make.
Mental illness is also very real in the world. Just as our physical bodies can grow sick and die, so our minds can be faced with imbalances in our brains. Many diseases like dementia and Alzheimers effect the brain, and so does schizophrenia and other mental disorders. People who do not think rationally can do very irrational things.
But at the core of the human heart is one more thing we as a nation tend to overlook. Sin. Even Christians have stopped defining things as sin, and people seem to have lost all sense of what is morally right and wrong. Where do we draw the line? And what standard do we use? Our nation's standard since its inception was the Bible, which even used to be read in schools. The Ten Commandments were thought to be good guidelines by which to teach our children, and the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) was considered commonplace consideration.
But make no mistake. Evil has always existed, since Adam and Eve first rebelled against God in the garden. Actually, before that, since satan rebelled against God in heaven and decided he wanted to be like God. He convinced Eve that knowing good and evil was a great thing, and she could be like God. And none of us have been able to resist that temptation to make our own choices, be our own boss, do our own thing, live it "my way", since.
Unfortunately, the problem of evil is the real reason behind the bombings, the shootings, the threats of mass destruction, and it grieves God's heart. It should grieve our hearts as well.
And I wonder what would happen if our nation, if every nation would recognize the fact that no law in the world can change a human heart. Repentance and dependance on our Creator can. He made a way for evil to be destroyed when he sent us His Son.
That answer may sound preachy or simplistic, but if God thought Jesus' death and resurrection was the only way to destroy evil, why do we think our laws and wars and policies and threats will be any better?
Does that mean that governments shouldn't enact laws? No. Of course, they must. And they must seek out those who commit evil and bring them to justice. But it would behove our legislators to seek the God who made us and pray for His guidance and beg His forgiveness for the evil in all of our hearts, before thinking they can fix these problems on their own.
Abraham Lincoln once said,
"Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right."
I leave you with these thoughts from Psalm 33:
"No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."