I’ve realized that at times I have a fascination for evil. Not that I want to do evil but it’s like people say nowadays, “What were they thinking?” Like, “How could they think like that? How could someone be like that?”
I guess we all have an innate desire to understand. And for me, some things are just so weird, strange and crazy that it’s like I get tempted to wonder how someone could think like that? And I want to pursue it, I want to get into it and understand it. But I know from experience and also God’s Word that it’s not a great idea to really pursue that line of reasoning.
We want to relate to others, we want to understand the world around us, we don’t want to be judgmental, we really want to help others. But there are times where the best choice is just to step back and walk away, as difficult as that may seem to be. It’s a little like what I wrote about in the post about the old story called “The Tar Baby“. And this is taught a number of times in the Bible in verses that may not be really popular or politically correct.
How about this one. Jesus, in His most famous “Sermon on the Mount” said at one point, “Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs. Neither cast your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet and turn again and rend you.” (Matthew 7:6) And of course He wasn’t talking about pets and farm animals. He was referring to some individuals, saying they were like dogs and pigs. At other times He called some people snakes, foxes, and wolves. This was Jesus, the most loving and kind Man that ever walked the earth. But He wasn’t naive; He called a spade a spade.
“But Jesus, don’t you want us to love everyone?! How could you be so cold and cruel, Jesus!?”
Because there’s evil in the world and there are people who at this time embrace and choose evil and the works of darkness.
“I thought we were supposed to keep turning the other cheek, let people walk all over us and just be little feeble pushovers like everyone says you were, Lord!”
Nope. Here are a few verses that are unpopular or virtually unknown but are really important. Solomon said, “Go from the presence of a foolish man when you don’t perceive in him the lips of knowledge.” (Proverbs 14:7). In other words, don’t hang around wasting your time with folks who just want to take your time and are not hungering for the truth of God you have to offer. Or this one, one of my favorites, “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes; I hate the work of them that turn aside, it shall not cleave unto me.” (Psalms 101:3).
Don’t set wicked things before your eyes, even the eyes of your mind. We need to hate the works of them that turn away from the Lord. Because those evil works will cleave to us if we don’t resist them. “Cleave” is an old word; think of what it’s like to have old ugly chewing gum stick to you or your clothes. That’s what “cleave” means. That’s what the sins and darkness want to do to your life and mind when you allow evil to fascinate you.
“Oh, Mark! Now you are preaching hate!”
King David said, “You who love the Lord, hate evil.” (Psalms 97:10) Paul said to the Ephesians “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them”, (Ephesians 5:11). Same idea again: just don’t “give place to the devil” (James 4:7). Don’t give time for the darkness and the evil to fascinate you and make you wonder what it’s all about. Isn’t that what happened to Eve? She saw the fruit was “good to the taste” and one that “made her wise” (Genesis 3:6); so she went for it. Big, big mistake. But it probably all seemed so “reasonable”.
“How could it be wrong?” “Let me just think about this for a minute; let me make sense of it all and figure it out.”
Nope. Walk away. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12) Like I wrote about Nehemiah, in “Can’t Come Down”, it must have really seemed narrow-minded and extreme that Nehemiah wouldn’t just come down from the wall and have a chat with those interesting folks who’d come to talk to him. But he didn’t. He had the grace of God to recognize that “God had not sent them” (Nehemiah 6:12) and he didn’t even want to hear what they had to say. Don’t get trapped, lured or lulled into a fascination for evil. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19)