The man in black hid behind a balaclava as he pronounced a death sentence over journalist Jim Foley, but we know the face that lurks behind the mask. It is the face of evil.
Relativism in our society today purposely blurs the distinctions between good and evil. But horrific actions, as we recently witnessed, snap us to attention and bring into stark focus the great chasm between right and wrong, righteousness and wickedness, good and evil. This summer’s reign of terror by the “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq brought us reports of people (including children) being tortured, crucified, and beheaded.
Evil disregards everything meaningful, valuable, and important to life, peace and security. Even those who doubt or deny the existence of God can usually acknowledge the undeniable force of evil present in this world.
The world has seldom faced such an insidious enemy as terrorism. It is far bigger than any one of its expressions such as al-Qaeda, serial killers, or mentally deranged individuals. Unrestrained evil is the enemy of all free societies.
God’s Word challenges every believer to stand boldly, suited up in the armor of God, resisting evil’s influence on every front. Before the Kingdom to come, evil will not be destroyed on this earth, but it can be defeated with wisdom from God. The apostle John warned believers of his day that many “antichrists” had appeared, denying the divinity of Christ and leading people astray. That same spirit exists today, though they cannot always be readily identified as a single maniacal dictator, such as Adolph Hitler. There are many miniature Hitlers all over the world. They are suicidal and murderous, willing to die in order to take out 10 people or 10 million. Their targets range from airports to playgrounds, from the heart of Jerusalem to the heart of America.
Some terrorists will be very impatient, striking out in ineffective, poorly planned attacks. Others will be calculating enough to lease space in a high-rise building and deliver their weapon, even with nuclear capability, in a briefcase hidden under a rented desk after they are long gone. Hundreds of scenarios exist and there is not enough military might to completely defeat or control this enemy. Supernatural wisdom and direction is our only hope.
The Barna Research Group reports that 91% of Americans believe in a “higher power.” Americans must meet this higher power. We must know the mind, will and way of God, because it is only through God that we can find control and security.
Every great society has had to take evil into account – and decisive, principled action has been the only proven remedy. Our nation’s leaders must have the heart, the courage and the humility to lead us without the fear of men and their opinions. Decisions must be guided by the absolute, unshakable principles upon which freedom was established and will safely stand.
The principles upon which our nation was established — ideas such as justice, peace, freedom, responsibility and sacrifice — are our only safeguards. Those nations and individuals throughout the world who fail to understand these principles will never willingly make the sacrifices necessary to ensure freedom’s survival. While everyone should rightly rejoice over victories like the abolition of slavery, we should all weep over the possibility of Americans witnessing the abolition of freedom. If freedom is to survive, we must reengage the irrefutable absolutes to govern our lives and our society. Christians must steadfastly resist the forces of evil while offering comfort and counsel to those hurt by it.
Our national, local and church leaders must understand this truth today. We must recognize the depths of hatred and malevolence behind terrorist activities here at home and around the world. Good must ultimately triumph over evil. We must not fear evil; we must face it while never spurning God’s wisdom, but embracing it. Our nation needs God-given insight, power, protection, direction and wisdom at this critical moment in human history. There is no quick solution to the challenges we now face. It will not soon go away. Only those who are strong, principled and willing to sacrifice will endure and overcome. To face the evil that murders the innocent, frightens the weak and enslaves the willing, we must reach higher, seek wisdom and stand strong.
In his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln said, “Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty.”
Those words still ring true, even in our present difficulty. If we will, as the prophet Haggai implored, “consider our ways,” we can return to the refuge that is our Lord. While seeking protection from terrorism and other forms of evil, we must diligently seek God’s divine enabling to recognize it in our own hearts and turn away from it. We must cease moving away from the hedge of protection offered by God’s eternal Word and allowing principled walls of absolute truth to be torn down. Our crumbling foundation must be restored if we expect to stand safely with the protection our founders recognized, appreciated and depended upon: Divine Providence.