Practical Evil: Part One – Overview

good_evil

Nate changed my life. I was part of a fairly intense men’s group at church for two years. My mentors for the first year were Nate and Chris and they changed my life. Nate said something about four months into our first year that has stuck in my head ever since.

If you guys don’t realize by now that evil is real, you’re missing something.

I suppose I sort of knew that evil was real. But there was something about the way Nate said it that struck me like never before.  Evil is real.  It affects me every day.  It’s in the room I’m sitting in right now.  It’s everywhere.  And in certain ways, it’s winning.

I decided this morning to do a series on the practical ways that evil exists in our lives to shine a light on it.  The number one way that evil succeeds is by tricking us into thinking it’s not real at all.  So we will talk about how that happens and why it is so effective.  We will talk about where evil shows up outside of us, and you might be surprised to see where I think that happens.  We will talk about how evil works its way into each of us and what it does when it gets there.  And in the end we are going to talk about the  warrior who looked evil in the face in the depths of hell itself and kicked its ass so that we can do the same.

We’re not going to get into a whole lot of theory here.  I’m not a theologian or  pastor.  I’ve read the Bible a lot but I’m not a Biblical expert.  I’m going to talk about my experiences with evil because we need to keep this conversation out of the clouds.  If the point of this series is that there is a very practical side to evil that affects us every day, then going intellectual isn’t going to help us.  It would be like explaining the theory of tire design to a guy trying to fix a flat in the rain.  Great thoughts.  But not much help at the moment.

I’m going to need your help in this series.  I’m hoping to draw out your thoughts and ideas through the comments because my experiences here will be very different from others.  And there will be people reading this comments who need to connect with your experiences.  I’m not asking for major level confessions of crazy terrible things you have done in your life.  I am looking for ways that evil has affected you on a day-in day-out basis.  I need your help in shining a light on the way in practical evil works in your life.  I honestly believe that people just don’t see it.  And I honestly believe that talking about it will create “a-ha” moments for others and will change lives.

Let’s take evil out of the realm of the theologians and movie producers and bring it right down here in the trenches where all of us deal with it every day.  We don’t have the luxury of thinking lofty thoughts about evil.  We’ve got to face it head on, see it for what it is, and allow Christ to move through us to walk away from it.  We don’t even need to defeat it.  That’s been done already.

But you can’t walk away from it if you can’t see it.  So let’s shine a light on it.  I’m hoping to see a lot of first time commenters, because we need to hear your thoughts.  If you’ve never commented before, I hope you will consider sharing.  In a hundred people, evil works a hundred different ways.  Let’s pull the curtain back on all of them and get about the business of exposing it, because that’s the first step to carving its roots out of our lives.

 

We were built to be heroes.  It’s about time we started acting like heroes.

 

Photo credit: http://www.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/good_evil.jpg
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9 thoughts on “Practical Evil: Part One – Overview

  1. Bill says:

    You’ve touched on something important. Evil, or “the distance or separation from God” is more common than we realize. Ubiquitous, actually.

    Here’s just one of many examples of subtle evil. For me, I am often struck after the fact at how money – the root of all evil – separates me from God. How? By taking my eye off the ball. Not just in the obvious ways like checking my email at a red light so I don’t have to make eye contact with the homeless woman with a cardboard sign asking for some money for food, but in other, more subtle ways.

    It’s often the *pursuit* of the legal tender that pushes God out of my day. Not to say I should quit my job and lose the roof over my family’s head to be close to God, but it’s like death by a thousand cuts. As a Catholic, I try to pray the rosary every day. It is a time of meditation for me, a time to silence my brain for 30 mins or so and calm my spirit through structured prayer, and I love it. But all too often, I’ve found myself checking my watch: “no time for the rosary today, I’ve got an early meeting.” or “Ugh, what a long day, no time for the rosary tonight, I just want to veg in front of the TV”.

    Or “no time for prayer today, I want to check out some reviews that cool new techno gadget I want to buy”.

    Or, “no time for God today, I’m just too stressed about that big unexpected expense that just blindsided us. No way I can silence my soul and pray. Forget it.”

    So, that’s not the head spinning, dark, demonic, scary evil so popularized by Hollywood, but it’s everywhere. It’s a constant undertow of distraction, like trying to listen to the passenger in your car who’s talking to you about their day when an interesting talk show is playing in the background. It’s hard to tune out of the stress of losing, pleasure of spending, superiority of planning, habit of obsessing and often uncontrollable compulsive entertainment value found in pondering money.

    All of these things drive distance, coldness and disconnect with God, and I am plagued by this daily. But from that place of coldness also comes a renewed spirit of hope and striving towards a more pious and holy way to live. So, there’s a struggle between the two diametrically opposed theologies.

    That’s what one type of evil is, to me.

    Like

    • Man you hit the nail on the head several times there. And this is exactly what I’m talking about. When I say The Lord’s Prayer with my girls at night, I often find myself saying the words correctly, leading them through the prayer, but my mind is 100% somewhere else. I can say the prayer out loud and still not be focused on the very words coming out of my mouth. Thanks very much for your comment.

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  2. Okay – a thought to kick things off. “Evil is Real” but has been “defeated” already. Love is real. But is not the same thing all the time, sometimes it is a smile, sometimes kapowee!! and all colours and temperatures in between. We all “get love” and what it is.

    Is “evil” not similar? Sometimes so intense you can feel it grip and twiost, other times just a “phth!” in passing. Love only works when it becomes real. How do you “do that” for evil?

    Like

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