We live in a deeply fallen and broken world. Sin still pervades our planet – corrupting and destroying lives and livelihoods.
Look no further than the stories and images coming out of Israel since the 2023 Israel-Hamas War broke out on October 7. The rampant terror and death displayed on media platforms has left the world appalled and horrified.
War also continues in Ukraine where tens of thousands of lives have been lost. Every day, thousands of innocent preborn babies are killed by abortion. Hundreds die each day from suicide and drug overdoses – deaths attributed to “despair.”
Despair is easy to come by these days. Our 24-hour news cycle only exacerbates the problem.
We all see the evil proliferating and saturating our world, but it can be easy to think of it as something “out there” and “a long way off.” Israel and Ukraine are half a world away. And unless we’re going there to pray, many of us too easily forget about the gruesome business our local Planned Parenthood executes day in and day out.
We’re often quick to condemn the obvious evil of others. We’re far slower to recognize the evil and sin that exists in ourselves.
Many of us – rightly so – cry out for God to bring swift and righteous judgment against perpetrators of evil. But what happens when that evil and injustice – is in our own hearts and souls?
In Romans 3:10, Paul writes,
“As it is written:
‘None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one’” (ESV).
In The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote,
The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts.
As Christians, when we sin, we repent, confess our faults, and – by God’s grace – receive forgiveness, turn away from evil and try to live differently.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9, ESV).
After turning away from our own sins and failings, what should we do about the evil remaining in the world?
We should pray. We should fast. We should live lives of charity.
But we should also hope; we must hope in the Lord.
The psalmist writes about this hope in Psalm 11.
I encourage you to read the whole psalm below. Ponder it. Take its message to heart. And then wait.
Wait with eager longing and hopeful expectation for the unveiling of the justice and righteousness of the Lord. Hope in the One who is “making all things new” (Revelation 21:5, ESV).
“In the Lord I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
‘Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
they have fitted their arrow to the string
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?’
The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord’s throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face” (Psalm 11:1-7, ESV).
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