Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Doing Good in the Face of Evil

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” – Romans 12:9 (ESV)

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about listening to the Holy Spirit for wisdom. In that post, I was referring to wisdom in the context of caring for ourselves. Today, I’m going to talk about it in a different context.

In James 1:5, the Bible says that if anyone asks God for wisdom, it will be given to him. Isn’t that a great promise? So how is it, then, that we are less than a month away from the U.S. election, and there are so many of us seeking wisdom, and yet we still don’t know what the right decision is with regards to voting?

One of the most life-changing Bible studies I have ever done is Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King. In it, the authors discuss different ways in which God speaks to us: through the Bible, prayer, church, wise counsel, circumstances, and of course, through the Holy Spirit.

The Bible is filled with men and women who made poor choices, so we can’t look to them as examples of what we should or shouldn’t do. What we can do, however, is look at what God himself – through His encounter with Moses and through Jesus – tells us about His will for our lives.

The original Ten Commandments, given to Moses directly from God, have some pretty important “do’s” and “do nots.” If you want specifics, you can look them up in Exodus 20, but for now let’s boil those ten into the two that Jesus gave, which He said summed up all of them: Love God. Love others. Period. If you really study the Ten Commandments, you’ll see that some of them apply to loving God and others apply to how we are to interact with our fellow human beings.

So what does that have to do with wisdom and the election, anyway?

Well, here’s what: there is no easy answer for who to vote for. It is exactly what the Bible says about the reason we need salvation through Christ Jesus: ALL have fallen short of the glory of God.

Hillary Clinton supports elective abortion all the way through the third term of pregnancy, justifying it as a “women’s right.” She also has a history of lies and cover-ups. On the other hand, every time we turn around, Donald Trump is spouting off what many consider hate speech against people of various kinds. And now, a video tape shows him making lewd comments about women and bragging about his extramarital affairs and even sexual assault.

What the heck??

I have found myself in a difficult position. As a Christian, I feel compelled to stand up for human rights: for blacks, whites, Hispanics, immigrants, men, women, people of my religion and people of other religions, for the born and for the unborn. One candidate may disregard the rights of one group, while the other disregards the rights of another. And if you look at the fact checkers, as I do, you’ll see that neither is 100% honest. So what do I do? What do we do?
One of the things we are called to as Christians is to be light in a dark world. 
We are to be in the world, but not of the world. And yet, while we are called to be different and righteous, we are not supposed to be self-righteous. After all, it was Jesus who said “Judge not, lest you be judged.”

I was blessed today to read a little Bible study written by a blogger friend’s daughter (funny how children can understand the Truth so well, while we adults seem to struggle with it) about Romans 12:9. In that verse, Paul exhorts us to “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”

It is right to hate evil. Not to attack the sinner, but to acknowledge the sin. To call out evil when we see it. Perhaps if more people cared about shining the light on evil, we wouldn’t be facing an election where we are being told to “vote for the lesser of two evils.” Oh, how people on all sides of the political spectrum are wishing we had someone more righteous to choose from!

And yet, the American people voted for these candidates in the primaries and here we are. So what now?

Now it is time to look at the rest of the verse: Let love be genuine…and hold fast to what is good.
We can’t just hate evil. Nor can we ignore it or excuse it. We have to take action of a different kind: we need to balance the scales by doing good.
Romans 12:18 says “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people.” In other words, what the world looks like – or at least in your sphere of influence – is up to you. Not the government, nor other people. You.

In the Hebrew Bible (referred to as the Old Testament by Christians), Isaiah offers up this word from God, “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.”

And when Jesus came along, He went beyond showing what “good” looks like, but also explained why it’s important. The Golden Rule (which, if you didn’t know, He coined) creates good will among men. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do you want peace? Offer it to your neighbor. Do you want love? Overflow with it. Do you want to be treated with respect? Then treat others respectfully.

There is no way that the U.S. election will be decided on the morality of the candidates alone. Neither are who I would have chosen, and the implications of either of them as president are concerning. And yet, regardless of who ultimately wins, we do not need to be afraid. As one friend said to me a long time ago, “God doesn’t care who wins the election.” He has used good kings and evil leaders alike, throughout history, for His purpose – which is ultimately to bring us into closer relationship with Him.

No matter who the future president is, you can’t control how they behave, but you can control what you do, both before and after the election. That is where we need the most wisdom: our own personal behavior. We need to turn from our own sin, go back to honoring God and loving our fellow man.

Will you be a light or will you be a hypocrite, hiding your sin in secret? Will you keep God’s love for yourself while denying it to others, or will you share the Gospel generously with those around you, no matter how different they may be from you? Will you be a voice for good, even if evil pervades the society in which you live? Will you treat others as you would want to be treated? Far beyond your vote, how you live everyday can make the biggest impact of all.

Today, I encourage you to hold fast to what is good…and if possible, so far as it depends on you, to live in peace with all people.

Wishing you peace today,


Doing Good in the Face of Evil originally appeared on Spring Sight blog, by Linda W. Perkins. Click here for more posts. Get even more encouragement by following me on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter

Many of Spring Sight's posts can also be found each week on Crystal Storms' Thoughtful Thursday,  Kelly Balarie's #RaRaLinkUp, Holly Barrett's Testimony Tuesday, Arabah Joy's Grace & Truth, Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart, and Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday. I also link up often with Jennifer Dukes Lee and Dawn at Journeys in Grace, as well as with Lori Schumaker.

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  1. Yes, we are to be lights in the world. It is hard to know what to do in this election. But the truth is that no matter who wins, God is still in control and He is the One we can trust. Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #TestimonyTuesday.

    1. Amen, Gayl! Yes, we have to trust. Our future is in His hands, not that of a presidential candidate! Blessings to you also.

  2. The political situation in this country is laughable... but at the same time, very scary. It's very stress inducing when you think about what the future may be like... to the point that I decided to stop facebook and news websites (and TV) until the election is over. Since the scriptures clearly tell us that God is the one who sets up kings and kingdoms, then worrying about all the implications is pointless. He has a plan (whether its what I would like or not) and is always in control. If I trust Him, then I trust Him. I don't need to angst over every news report of fb post. And btw, I'm so glad we have Him to trust b/c without Him, how scary would all this be! Blessings!

  3. Stressful is an understatement. Yes, we need to spend our time focused on God, not on projecting outcomes. Thanks so much for joining the discussion!