by Debi Young
Crown Point, IN

What is evil? It is anything that is done in order to hurt, diminish, defraud, injure, corrupt, confuse, distress, or purposely manipulate for another’s demise and/or for the personal gain or satisfaction of the perpetrator. Evil is always an agenda! It is never a side effect. It is always the purpose! Evil is rarely clothed in its proper attire. It adorns itself in the appropriate costume that will best achieve the purpose at hand. Its garments may be attractive on the outside, but the inside is marred by the stench of its filthy touch.

Words are evil’s main avenue of attack. Evil can be outwardly well-groomed and manicured. It can sport a facade that is artistically applied in such a way that for a time, it is pleasing and even desirable to the victim (as in calculated manipulation wrapped in soothing and comforting words). Evil is so cunning that its words, though dripping with honey, often carry a mysterious cesspool odor.

The seed of evil is pride. Its sustenance is envy, greed, jealousy, dishonesty, and bitterness. Evil’s cousin is assumption. Evil works to insure its position with the one most beneficial to its cause, and then it moves on when it has succored all it can. It feigns loyalty until its own purpose is better served elsewhere.

Its most fertile ground is in the hearts and minds of the hurting and disillusioned, for they are so preoccupied by pain that they cannot see it coming—especially when the carriers are those nearest their hearts and lives. Evil is a verb. It may seethe, but it is never dormant. Just as you cannot love without expressing it, you cannot harbor evil without manifesting it. Evil begins in the heart, travels to the mind and proceeds out of the mouth. Its telltale shadow lodges in the glint of the eye. Evil never announces its intentions, for that would defeat its purpose. In order to separate chief friends, it will choose its words cunningly—often in the guise of spiritual or loving concern. Evil’s desire is to “take no prisoners,” and there is never just one victim!

Evil is rarely a “Hitler-sized” event. It is often in the little unsuspecting moments that evil is at its most dastardly. Evil is in the heart of a rebellious teenager who chooses just the right words to turn parents and other teens against the pastor, principal, or youth director. Evil is in the heart of a wife who cunningly manipulates her husband to make a decision she knows he doesn’t think is right. Evil is in the heart of a sibling, who emphasizes just the right words in order to make another sibling look bad in the eyes of a parent. Evil is in the heart of a child who taunts and turns other children against a defenseless classmate. Evil is in the heart of a mother-in-law who works to make her daughter-in-law look less than perfect in the eyes of her son—and vice versa! Evil is in the heart of a church member who tries to sway others into negative thinking about the pastor, his wife, and other church leaders. Evil is in the heart of an employee who creates friction among others in the workplace.

Evil “soweth strife” between friends, families, churches, and ministries. It seeks after power and position at any and all cost. Evil is adept at coming to us at our most vulnerable times and causing us to say, do, and feel things we never dreamed we would.

Evil is a parasite. It cannot stand alone. It must have nourishment and a carrier. Unfortunately, the carrier can sometimes be those closest to us—those with whom we have lived, loved, and labored.

Evil is subtle. It is creative. It is most dangerous because it is often masterfully interwoven with the slightest thread of truth in order to give it credence, but it is always distorted. Sometimes the interwoven truth has nothing to do with the subject at hand, but it helps to make the evil seem like truth by association.

Recognizing that someone just hurt you isn’t evil—trying to hurt him back is! At some time or another, evil is in the heart of every person. The goal is to recognize it, confess it, and remove it more quickly each time it comes! Are we harboring any evil today? Are we listening to any evil? If we are, we know it. We don’t have to think about it for more than two minutes, and as Christians, WE KNOW what to do about it! May I suggest we take care of it by confessing it to God, and then set about making things right where we possibly can.

JESUS DIED FOR EVIL. While holding on to the Bible in one hand, and evil in the other, how can we stand to teach a Sunday school class or witness for Jesus? All that lies between the Bible in one hand and evil in the other, is a heart! Evil has no place in the heart, mind, mouth, eye, or life of a Christian! There is no excuse that is good enough! Let’s get rid of it TODAY! “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.” (Psalms 34:13) “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” (III John 11) THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE IN EVERY PLACE, BEHOLDING THE EVIL AND THE GOOD.” (Proverbs 15:3)