Evil is the only word that comes to mind as I ponder the senseless killing and maiming at Fort Hood the other day. My mind quickly jumps from one conclusion to the other. No one really knows the full story right now. The motivation of Maj. Hasan remains cloudy, and so my conclusions have no real basis. However, just because the motivation is unknown, the truth of the situation is not. What happened that day in Fort Hood has a name – and that name is EVIL.
Notice I did not say that Maj. Hasan was evil. His actions were evil. So were the actions of the man who shot his lover’s husband a day or two ago. So were the actions of the business man who lied to his client to get more money out of them. So were the actions of the college student who had cheat notes when they took their exam. Evil is a reality in this world.
Evil comes out of our willingness to be influenced by spiritual forces of darkness and wickedness. Yeah, I know that sounds like some sci-fi, spooky movie, but those forces are real. As much as we want to make laws to ban weapons or to be able to tap into phone calls and check emails, those efforts will not be completely effective because the forces of evil are not bound by this physical world.
The result of evil in the world is tragedy. When innocent people die and children are left without a parent it is a tragedy. When the safety of an army base is compromised and people are terrorized it is also tragic. In the midst of evil and tragedy we can often ask ourselves, “Where is God in all of this?”
I believe God, like us, is broken-hearted over these events. I believe God longs to see us live in peace and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And I believe God calls us to be a force for good, a force of love and peace in a world filled with evil. I’m not going to address why there is evil, but instead to recognize it as a reality and to call upon the followers of Jesus to stand up against it.
The hope people need when facing evil and tragedy can only be found in one who knows how to confront evil and to overcome it. Jesus, an innocent, sinless, man (who is also fully God) took on evil when he went to die on the cross. He himself said he could have saved himself, but he didn’t. He went to the cross and evil had its way with the very Son of God. When Jesus was nailed to the cross and left to die it was the greatest of all evil. But, the forces of wickedness and darkness that put Jesus in the grave could not keep him there. On the third day he rose from the dead – rose up to new life. It is a life he offers to us.
We who follow this “evil-slayer” are being called upon to bring the Spirit of God – the Spirit of love and peace and joy – into a world where a gunman shoots and kills and maims the very people who stand up to protect us. The only hope for the world is for us to join God in bringing His Spirit of peace and love into the world. We may not be able to stop the evil from happening, but God can use us to overcome the effects of that evil. In the people of God – in the Church – there is resurrection power. It is the only power evil cannot overcome.
In the midst of evil and tragedy let us go into the world to bring hope. Let us go into the world to share love, to encourage peace, and to live in the Spirit of God so that others might find life as well. Evil will not win.
Holy high five to you,Mike.