Day 42 – Confronting Evil
On: December 12, 2014   |   By: admin   |   Under: Blog   |   Comments: Comments are off

Do we want to live a quiet life … or an effective one?

“But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.” [Luke 3:19-20]

Wouldn’t John have done better to pick his fights? Getting mixed up with an evil royal adulterer was always going to end in disaster. He could have continued his ministry of baptism and led even greater numbers to repentance. Maybe … but evil flourishes when good people stay silent. Do we want to live a quiet life? Or an effective one?

On day 29, we heard that Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles”.  If we are to follow in the footsteps of this King, we too must be a light revealing Jesus to those yet to taste His goodness (Hebrews 6:5). But this light will also reveal the dark works of evil all around us. Jesus didn’t shy away from shining His light into the evil He saw – particularly the religious establishment of the day. As we see here, neither did John. Neither should we.

This is a challenge, particularly if held alongside my comments on day 38, where I suggested that we need to explore flexible and creative ways of exposing sin rather than “bashing people around the head with a Bible”.  We need somehow to combine caring sensitivity with bold witness. It will be just as Jesus said: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” [Matthew 10:16]

John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias

What might this look like  in practice? Here’s a 6 point plan involving observation, listening, thought, prayer, practice … and resolve. Look at the situations and people around you. Listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as to what difference you can bring. Think through how you can respect the person but challenge the behaviour and structures behind it. Pray for opportunity to engage, sensitivity of approach and clarity of communication. Do it and repeat as necessary. Don’t be put off by rejection or being ignored. Stick on in there. Whilst it’s unlikely you’ll end up in prison, it may well not be comfortable. But then, Jesus’ life wasn’t comfortable, so we need to ask ourselves if we want to follow in the footsteps of the King.

Prayer:

Father God, grow in me a desire to be a transforming presence wherever I am, loving people but challenging wrong attitudes and behaviour. Give me willingness and boldness to engage under Your direction. And persistence to persevere when the going gets tough. Amen.

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