How Should Christians Respond to Evil? – January 8, 2021

Considering current events, it is important for Christians to ask how we are to respond when we believe that evil is marching forward unchecked. For, how Christians should respond to evil and how the world and frankly many Christians today are responding to evil stand opposite to one another. As I have watched events unfold, I have thought many times, “This would be a good time for Christians to read Habakkuk.”

In chapter one, Habakkuk presents to God a complaint that we have all spoken recently. Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. (vv. 1-4). We see evil reign around us. We see injustice. We see violence. We see contention. We see laws fail to work. We see laws we feel are wrong enacted. Justice seems perverted. We cry out, “Where are you God?”

Through the end of chapters one and two, God and Habakkuk engage in an interesting back and forth. God begins by informing Habakkuk that he has not lost control and that evil will not go unchecked. Instead, God would send the Babylonians to take Judah into captivity. Understandably, Habakkuk is appalled. How can God use the evil Babylonians to take God’s people into captivity? This seems even more unjust. God’s response is that He would also deal with the Babylonians in His good sovereign time. God does not overlook evil. He can deal with it better than any man.

This back and forth concludes with the most important sections for Christians today. In Habakkuk 2:20 God declares, But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. God still reigns. He has not left his throne. Even when evil rules and justice seems perverted, God’s sovereign plan marches forward unscathed. Rather than question God, we ought to trust God. Christian, trust God not man!

Habakkuk then demonstrates the Christians response. I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. 17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (3:16-19). Habakkuk’s circumstances had not changed for the better in any human mind. Yet, Habakkuk recognized God’s faithful plan. Therefore, he could rest and rejoice in God. Though evil may come, though persecution may result, Christian, rejoice in God!

Christian, we are not called to respond to injustice and evil with anger and vengeance. We are not called to riot and revolt. We are called to rejoice in God. Sadly, many Christians today are responding with anger, despair, fear, and frustration. This happens because we have taken our eyes off the throne of God. God is in control. We are called to obedience.

So, we don’t respond to evil with evil. Rather we overcome evil with good (Romans 12:14-13:7). Good does not look like anger and vengeance. Good does not look like complaints of injustice. Good does not look like protests and riots. Good means sacrificially serving those around us. We trust God even when we believe that evil is reigning. God sovereignly places rulers in power (Daniel 2:21). Therefore, we need not fear or fight. We can submit and trust. We don’t place our hope in politics or personalities. We don’t place our hope in demonstrations or riots. We place our hope in the reality of God’s Kingdom. He is our stability. We remember that God’s Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). We serve that kingdom first. We are citizens of that Kingdom above all. This means that we approach the evil and the politics of this world differently. This means that every argument we make is bolstered by Scripture used in its context. This means that we are not tossed about with every change in the world, but we are anchored steadfast to the unchangeable reality of God’s eternal Kingdom.

Let me challenge you to be different in these sad days. Instead of responding with anger or despair (in your heart, in your conversations, or on social media), respond with patient hope and trust. Fill every argument with Scripture used in its context. Turn off the news and open God’s Word. Get off social media and share the Gospel. Live a life which honors God. Rejoice in the Lord!