When seemingly inexplicable tragedy happens people want answers. But the answer to the “why” question is different depending on who is doing the answering. Why do these things happen? Here are 5 thoughts.
- Evil is real. This is tough for some people to admit. In fact, it may go completely against their worldview. If you believe completely in Darwinian evolution then it’s impossible to truly call something universally evil. One person’s theft is another person’s score. There are no absolute rules in the animal kingdom and there can’t be in humanity either if there’s not a being in charge of people who can declare something evil. The Bible with its story of God as creator and lover of people, along with humanity’s rebellion, not only allows us to explain the origin of evil but it also allows us to define it. Evil is the result of rebellion against God. The whole world suffers from it. And when a cop shoots a person unjustly or a man plows a truck into a crowd at a holiday celebration, that’s evil.
- Politicians can’t get rid of evil. Some think if we just get enough Republicans or Democrats elected, then we can clean this mess up. At times, both parties have had dominant positions in Washington and locally in several states. Evil still exists and flourishes.
- New laws can’t get rid of evil. Sure, they can restrain evil. The Bible says the state has “the sword” (Romans 13:4) for good reason. Laws, cops, courts, and armies can all keep evil at bay. But ultimately since the Bible teaches that evil is at work in every aspect of our world (1 John 1:8,10), no law can stop it entirely.
- Only Jesus can get rid of evil. The only hope of the world is Jesus. If we want to see less evil then the hearts that contain it need to be changed. When the gospel (God’s good news of salvation) is embraced, God changes a heart so it begins to desire God instead of rebelling against Him. Without God working to change our evil desires we will give in. We may not commit a mass killing, but our lust, gossip, gluttony, greed, and lies are destructive too.
- In the end, God completely gets rid of evil. The book of Revelation is a challenging read for anyone. But its big theme is the victory of God over evil and its removal from the world forever. We should long for this day along with John, the writer of Revelation, who says “Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20). Perhaps we need to spend more time focused on our future and living today in light of that.
Even though we’re still waiting for the day when evil will be gone, God gives us little pockets of what it will look like. Some members of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church took to the streets to pray for police officers in the wake of the Dallas sniper shootings. It’s a powerful show of how God can change hearts. Let’s embrace prayer, God’s love, and the truth of His gospel each and every day.