Living in the unprecedented comfort that western living affords us, it's become too easy to cease believing in evil. Why not? Evil is a terribly disconcerting thing to ponder. If considered too carefully, it's bound to keep us up nights; it will surely interrupt our good-humour and disrupt our quality of life. Though we don't mind viewing it on a television set from time to time (as one might visit a zoo to view a host of venomous reptiles), we take solace in the fact that we can turn the TV off and retire to a post-modern worldview that insists on the essential goodness of all things.
No wonder, then, that we're so perturbed by the notion of a vengeful God who punishes evil-doers, who "chases" His enemies into darkness. If all people are essentially good, then any "evil" they commit is not really their fault. It's the result of an unfortunate upbringing, the deprivation of material goods, a failure in education. Punishing such people for the evil they commit is, well, an evil in its own right, because it denies the one truth on which we must insist, that there is no such thing as evil. A God of punishment must therefore be unnecessarily cruel, unworthy of our respect.
But if we had to endure such punishing brutalities as the Israelites endured at the hands of the Ninevites, we would not think such things. Rather, we would rejoice in a God who provides refuge for those who choose the light and vengeance for those who choose darkness; and so we should today.
Make no mistake, you're surrounded by people who, given the right conditions, are capable of committing against you any number of cruelties. You are protected not by the natural evolution humanity and the essential goodness of all things, but by a rule of law that exists only because He wills it to exist. If you doubt this, step into any nation or territory where there is no such thing as the rule of law. You will find good there, as you will find it in most places, but you will also find violence, molestation, child labour, sexual slavery; you will find people so depraved they would force a machine gun into the hand of a child and force him to commit murder.
Do you seriously believe we can legislate such darkness out of the human heart? Western democracy isn't an evolution, it's a dam, one that is, for the time being, keeping most of the evil hidden from sight. This will not always be the case.
Rejoice in the Lord. He is your refuge; and when the time comes, those who delight him Him will delight in His justice as well.
Colin McComb lives in Edson, Alberta with his wife, Gail, and their three lovely children.