Tag Archives: Evil

Summer Study: Ephesians 6

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We’ve come to the end of the Ephesians study.  Chapter 6 has some pretty memorable and quoted verses.  I remember learning the different parts of the Armor of God when I was a kid.  I also remember using “Father’s don’t exasperate your children” as a teenager with my dad.  But as I was reading the chapter as a whole, I realized a neat transition that I hadn’t noticed before in this verse.

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If I could re-chapter the book of Ephesians, I would start with 5:21 and go through 6:12.  Paul was talking about relationships – wives and husbands, children and parents, even masters and slaves.  And in verse 12, this is why we should submit to one another, why children should obey and fathers shouldn’t exasperate, why masters and slaves should serve wholeheartedly and remember who the true Master is.

We are at war.

And we are still at war.

Marriages are under attack.  Abuse is prevalent in our families, our relationships, our work environments.  There is so much in-fighting that we forget we have a much bigger battle to fight.

I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but someone recently was talking about the series, how there were these five families that keep fighting over this throne, fighting and killing one another, and all the while winter is coming.  There is a bigger force that is just beyond the wall.  And they need to work together to defeat this coming assault, but they haven’t been able to rise above the infighting.  And because of this, it’s quite possible that they will all fail.

The difference between that story and our story is that this war has already been won.  Jesus defeated the darkness by dying on the cross and rising again that third day.  In the end, we win.  But that doesn’t mean evil isn’t active in our world today.  We are just so caught up in our own customized need to be right that we forget the havoc that is right over that wall, headed our way.

When you face your demons, whether that’s addiction or loss or cancer or something you don’t even see coming, you gotta have your community.  We weren’t meant to fight these things alone, no matter how the other side tries to convince us we are isolated, God brings it to light that we are not.

At the end of the chapter, Paul names the tools our community can put on for protection against the evil that will come – truth, salvation, faith, the gospel of peace, righteousness. And the only offensive tool in our arsenal is the sword of the Spirit.  We allow the Spirit to fight these battles.  We pray in the Spirit “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests”.

We keep our head up.  Be alert.  Stop fighting each other and start protecting each other, especially those you don’t completely agree with.  Bring forth a solidarity that can only come through the Spirit of God.  Start fighting the evil in this world that longs to make us feel less than and alone.

Don’t be Jonah, waiting on the side of the mountain for God to smite the heathens.  Be the one in the streets, spreading love and mercy to those who are aching to listen.

Mercy

Sorry for the hiatus.  It’s been another crazy couple of weeks.  I continue to have a love-hate relationship with my technology.  My office manager is about to leave on maternity.  There are some transitions coming with our church family (new additions to the staff.  Very exciting!).  So, it’s just been an overall crazy couple of weeks.  Oh, and tomorrow is the last day of my summer Spanish class.

I know that I’ve mentioned taking this class on the blog at the beginning of the summer.  It has been pretty amazing and so much more than a simple language course.  The professor is agnostic, yet he loves to talk about religion, faith, culture, and how these are affected by current events.  Of course, if anyone gets too “religious-y,” he tends to shut the conversation down and go back to Spanish.  Still, considering the diverse group of individuals in this class (coming from Algeria, India, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, Thailand, Cambodia, as well as different backgrounds here in the US), it’s interesting to hear all the different perspectives.

In the most recent class, the conversation turned towards the meaning of evil and anger towards evil.  They listed off all the usual suspects like Hitler or the 9/11 terrorists as just plain evil people.  It got interesting when we started talking about mothers who killed their children due to extreme post-partum depression, whether they should be considered evil or just mentally ill.

I was very quiet, listening to all the comments made.  I didn’t realize that my thoughts were showing through on my face though.  In the middle of the discussion, a woman turned to look at me and said, “Katy, you look so sad.”  I shared that I felt that I couldn’t personally justify labeling someone evil, just writing them off as unredeemable.  I think choices can be evil, but for all the sacrifice that Christ made, I just can’t fathom that people are completely unredeemable.  Because that could very well mean that I could be unredeemable.

No, I haven’t killed anyone or made some terroristic action against my country.  But I have manipulated and hurt people before, and never asked them to forgive me, or even had the chance to ask.  I have selfishly indulged in the love, forgiveness, and salvation of God, knowing its relief and yet didn’t share it with others who were searching.  I have created the gap between God and myself with my sin, without having a way to repair it on my own, depending on the grace of God to find forgiveness and redemption.

The Bible shows me that I’m not alone.  Paul, as Saul, imprisoned men and women.  David was an adulterous murderer.  Rachel was a manipulative liar.  Jonah wanted to commit genocide.  Moses was a murderer and had anger issues.  The stories in the Bible are not of saints, but of imperfect people, people that could have easily been labeled evil before God’s redemption.

I think something this world desperately needs is an extension of mercy and grace.  One guy in my class said that God doles out mercy and grace and man doles out justice.  But my question is how will others understand that grace if we don’t first give it ourselves?

I’m, of course, not perfect in this wisdom.  I still judge people without mercy and grace.  I write off people as ones that can’t or won’t change, forgetting the stories of the Bible that say different.  I’m hoping to continue working on this because I honestly believe that if people started experiencing the grace of God through us, that we can change the world.  And what better way can we love others, but in the way that God has loved us?