They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 1 John 4, verse 5.
This verse is talking about evil, about those evil spirits that plague this world. And ‘plague’ is the right word to describe them. They are a pestilence that divides, hurts, targets, and tries to destroy us. Don’t believe me? Sandy Hook. Auschwitz (and dozens of other camps like it). The killing fields of Cambodia. Crack houses. Cancer. Men beating women (and women who beat men, or their children). North Korea. Iran. IEDs in Afghanistan. Urban blight in Detroit, Darmstadt and Djibouti. Hopelessness.
The viewpoint of the world is evil. So many of the things that happen to us every day are real manifestations of evil in our lives. Sometimes it is the argument you have with your wife, or kids smoking dope, or taking offense where none was intended, or white lies you mistakenly think will save someone’s feelings. We can evade the truth as long as we want, but when we finally allow honesty to break through we see that anything which isn’t Jesus acting in our lives is evil. Pure evil. Any time we do something contrary to what Christ taught us, we are giving the evil spirits of the world, that plague, a chance to take root and bear bad fruit.
How quickly we forget that those evil spirits are powerless against the power of the God-Man.
And yet, I believe in people. I believe in people because I’m a follower of Jesus, and Jesus believed in people. He believed fully in His Father’s transforming love and that this love was made to share with His greatest creation: people. I believe that most people want to do good, but that most people are prevented from doing good (or being good) by the choices we make. Most people want to do their best, want to do what is right even as we let ourselves be steered and swayed by that petty evil. The grieving parents of Sandy Hook want what is right and best in the aftermath of that tragedy. Cancer survivors (and cancer warriors still fighting the disease) want life to rule. People who lived through the Holocaust want God’s peace, and perhaps even forgiveness, for the men and women who perpetuated that modern horror.
You and me: I believe we want to follow Jesus, want to know, experience, and share Jesus’ world-inspiring love, yet we constantly fight and sometimes lose the daily battles with evil. We battle it because evil is in our lives right where we live. Just remember today that, while evil is battling against you, Jesus is battling evil for you. He’s beside you, with you, working to beat back what troubles us and restore us to His better way.
Jesus, fight evil for me today. Help my unbelief and help me to fight with you to battle back the terrors of the world that plague us.