The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil. – 1 Peter 3:12
Any follower of Jesus who has ever tried to tell a lost person about Him inevitably runs into this question: Why does God allow evil in this world? Many, many people either can’t get past this fact, or they simply use it as an excuse to ignore Him. Either way, the fact that evil exists on this planet is a sore spot for a lot of people.
The first line of defense that I take with anyone who asks this question is this: Have you ever done anything evil? I will then say that I certainly have. I have lied, I have stolen, I have hated, I have lusted, I have used people, and done many other dark, dark things. I am thankful that God didn’t destroy me as soon as I committed my first evil deed. God is patient with us, not willing that anyone perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
Inevitably, most people will try to convince themselves and you that they are not that bad. Here, I might point out Romans 3:23 (All have sinned) or Romans 6:23: The wages of sin (all sin . . . even “not that bad” sin) is death. You will usually be met with silence on that one.
However, use the opportunity to push further.
The first purpose of evil is that it provides a clear choice. God has made very clear His standard in the Bible. When it comes to religion, philosophy, doctrine, faith, or belief, you must choose Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). If you choose anything else, you have chosen evil. “What?!?!”, they may exclaim. “Yes,” you have to say . . . the very first of the 10 commandments is that you shall have no other gods before me. They may not like it, but at least it is abundantly clear. Should you choose to lie, cheat, steal, have sex outside of marriage, or even strongly desire the possessions of another, you have chosen evil over God’s commands. Furthermore, if you choose evil, you will not have the benefits of Him watching over you and His ears will not hear your prayers. In fact, today’s verse clearly states the Lord turns His face against those who do evil. Furthermore, God’s line of evil is way, way further back than yours. (See Matthew 5:27-28 for an example)
The second purpose of evil is that without it, love cannot exist. How do I know that I love my wife? For me, I want to do those things I said I’d do when I married her. It is not simply the fact that I forsake all other women . . . it is the fact that I want to. For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad times, when I feel like it and when I don’t . . . I choose her either way. If she does the same for me . . . I know for a fact that she loves me. I know she chooses me over all others and that makes me feel quite loved. It makes me want to do all the things God said He’d do for me; I want to watch over her, I want to listen to her, and I don’t want to turn away from her at all.
Why would God not be the same way? When we choose to walk away from sexual temptation, even though everything in the world teaches us that it is no big deal . . . this immediately grabs the Lord’s attention, and He wants to watch over us. When we do good to those who have only done evil to us and spoken badly of us, He opens His ears to our prayers. When we choose to lie, gossip, and participate in worldly activity, He simply turns His face away.
I didn’t say it . . . the Bible did.
I just happen to believe it.
Lord, oh how I want You to watch over me for the rest of my life! Oh, how I want You to hear my prayers! Help me to clearly choose right that Your face might be turned towards me and not away from me. This morning as I sit and soak in Your presence, I choose You, Lord. I choose You all over again. Thank You for not destroying me when I clearly and willingly choose evil over You. Thank You for still hearing my prayers of repentance. Thank You for giving me Your Spirit and helping me hide Thy Word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee. There is no one like You. Help me, Lord for I am so poor in Spirit. It is only in You that I live and move and breathe. Thine is the kingdom . . . I don’t want to build one, I just want to be a part of Yours. Thine is the power . . . I have none except that which comes from You. Thine is the glory . . . it is all Yours, help me to not even want any for myself. Power wash my soul once more, Lord. May I be as clean as possible when I type the last period on this prayer. Thank You so much for the blood which atones for my sins. Help me by Thy power, strength and might to be clean, prepared, and ready on that glorious day when my faith becomes sight. Amen.