(© 25 June 2015, Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)
The Bible never ceases to amaze me regarding its simplicity. When I listen to the news, I often hear from the host when someone murders numerous people, like the recent murder of nine people by a lone gunman, why did they do it? Anchors like Bill O’Reilly state over and over that the gunman is insane. “Who in his right mind would do such a thing?” he asks. Whether Bill literally means he is insane and thus in a state of moral incompetence and is not blameworthy, or is so evil that the only way to deal with him is quick justice, is difficult to tell.
Repeatedly we hear people comment that “things like this do not happen in our little town.” They talk about other people in other places being evil, but not in their city or place they live. They really do not believe in evil where they are but where others are; they are, of course, ok. But when they are confronted with wickedness, they are shocked. We see our weak humanity in killers so we try to make excuses for them. They try to explain it as a fluke, as something that is completely abnormal. So they use words like “insane,” or “abnormal,” thinking that people are really basically good, not evil.
But the Bible is realistic, clear, and to the point:
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:17-21 NKJ)
Notice what the Apostle John stated 1900 years ago. Everyone is condemned if he does not believe in the Son of God whom the Father sent to save us from our sins. Notice also what attends rejection of the Son of God: “Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” People—all people who do not believe in Jesus—love their sin and hate the Triune God: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The verb is present tense: they hate the light NOW, and continue to hate Him. Indeed, unbelief is the mother of all sins, and love for darkness is concealed behind a false love for the light. The person who is transparent is the one who loves the light and wants his deeds to be seen as done in God, as glorifying Him, but the one who is always hiding something hates the Triune God.
Moreover, all evil is personal, people hating the Triune God and hating one another. The devil energizes God-haters to murder each other and to murder those who love Jesus; the devil taking people captive to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26). Evil does not exist in the abstract. Evil is people hating people and hating God and doing Christians harm.
But everyone always wants to know why a person murdered such innocent people, such as the man who murdered nine people worshipping at church last week, or the man who killed a dozen or more at the movie theatre, or ISIS who has murdered and beheaded so many, or the man who murdered about 20 innocent small school children. We might understand killing other killers, but why murder innocent babies, rape women, behead Christians, and prepare to destroy whole nations. What is the point? Here is one clear reason that Jesus gave us:
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44 ESV)
People hate the innocent with an unholy passion because they are innocent, like killing Jesus who was innocent of any sin ever. So why do politicians lie, steal, cheat, murder, murder one another in principle by murdering their reputations? It is because they are of their father the devil. They do what their father does, for he is behind their actions. I recall an interview with Ted Bundy, the serial murderer who killed so many women before he was caught and executed in FL. When asked why he did it, he said something like, “I like it. If I would get out of jail, I would do it again. There is a sense of power.” He loved darkness rather than light, but he concealed himself by being a nice guy. Why does anyone sin? We like it, or better, we absolutely love it. It is as simple as that.
Don’t these murderers know they are doing wrong? Most do, which is why they try to hide their dark deeds. Others are self-deceived almost beyond imagination, trying to justify their deeds. Self-deception follows Eve who was convinced by the devil that she could partake of the tree in the garden and that it would make her happy and fulfilled. From that day to now, we sinners think we can sin with impunity and that such will lead to fulfilled lives. Yet we really know that is not true: “Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” If he is hiding from the light, he knows his rebellious deeds are wrong, like Adam and Eve hiding from God in the Garden.
How evil is our culture? Do we tend to whitewash those in white coats who murder hundreds of babies everyday? Recall the abortionist Kermit Gosnell who murdered thousands of babies, many after birth, cutting the spinal cords of new born babies made in the image of God, and he could not understand why people where so angry with him. He was either self-deceived or just a liar and murderer; either way he was guilty. But he enjoyed what he did, even when many women were injured or perhaps killed in his clinic.
Another characteristic of really wicked people is that they scapegoat, always blaming others for their “mistakes” (read: sins). Sounds like some politicians, especially in high places. They hate others who would hold them accountable, and “hate” is the operative word, for evil people HATE the light, as St. John stated. These scapegoaters love to appear to be good, but they have no motivation for such. It is all outward show. As one man has well said: “Those who are evil are masters of disguise; they are not apt to wittingly disclose their true colors—either to others or to themselves. It is not without reason that the serpent is renowned for his subtly.” (M. Scott Peck, M.D., People of the Lie, p. 104, very insightful book though mixed in its Christian views).
Moreover, those who hate others are often angry because they cannot control them. They are narcissistic, meaning so self-centered that they must control others to do their will or they will hate them. It they are not in control, they sometimes hate with enough passion to murder them, just like the devil did Jesus. This further means they live in fear of discovery for who they really are. They will stop at nothing to prevent discovery, so they hate and kill. It is difficult to expose evil people because they avoid the light at all costs, cover up their sins, and scapegoat every time they are confronted. Their whole lives are motivated by narcissism and hate and the desire to control.
Next time someone says they do not understand why so and so murdered innocent people, tell them they enjoyed it, they hated the other person, and they loved darkness.
But who are the wicked? Is it the person next door, the abortionist, the rapist, the liar? As Pogo in the comic strip used to say, “I have met the enemy, and he is us.” Our only hope is to bow before the Savior, confessing our sins, trusting in His death on the cross for our sins, and in His bodily resurrection. AMEN. Ὡ