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The Cost of Ignoring Evil

May 28, 2013

“We ignore evil when it doesn’t hit us in the face, and so we are shocked and puzzled when it does.”[1]

How true. NT Wright points out something we see on the news many times. Some of the mass shootings have been committed by individuals who were reported to act abnormally, but people ignored it or hid it. That is ignoring evil and being shocked when it happens. Kermit Gosnell – that is ignoring evil and being shocked and horrified when it comes out. Torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay – that is ignoring evil and being puzzled when it comes out.

As believers, we are called to care for the least of these. Then there are the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. We have been taught the Lord’s Prayer. How can we hold these teachings true while ignoring evil? When we ignore the evil and do nothing about it, we have chosen to own a portion of the results of the ignored evil.

Take a stand against evil. While you cannot learn everything about everything, pick something that strikes your passion and learn about it and find a way to help. For you, this may be helping with justice issues such as stopping human trafficking or being a victim’s advocate for sexual assault victims in your community. For some it may take on feeding homeless at a shelter or volunteer at a Boys and Girls Club. Find something and do something! Time to act instead of being surprised.

[1] N.T. Wright. Evil and the Justice of God. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2006. 26


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  1. I love this! One of my favorite quotes is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” It’s too easy to talk about problems and do nothing! Thanks for this inspiring post to do something!

    • Charity, Thank you for your comment! As I study and wrestle with topics I post on Wednesdays about war, the most difficult thing is to figure out when being passive is a greater sin than going to war. Rwanda is a good example where the world dropped the ball. I think the passiveness of the world there was the greater sin. Yet there is evil everywhere and the church needs to be the church and go into action.

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