The Face of Evil

"What sorrow for those who say
that evil is good and good is evil,
that dark is light and light is dark,
that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter."
Isaiah 5:20 (NLT)

Many of us are familiar with the story of Elizabeth Smart, the young girl who was abducted from her home in 2002 and endured over a year of unspeakable atrocities at the hands of an evil husband and wife. I was reading about some of the horrors that Elizabeth had to face at the hands of this couple. It made my stomach turn as I read how her captors used religion to justify the humiliation and torture they doled out to Elizabeth.

Girlfriends, do you and I recognize evil when we are staring it in the face? I lived in Congo, a country steeped in witchcraft, where evil and good were rarely blurred. Those who dabbled in the occult had a look about them that was unmistakable--hollow eyes looking out from an empty, tortured soul. They often were extremely unkempt--with mud smeared all over them--and loaded down with fetishes on their persons. Just being near them sent a shiver of fear up my spine as a child.

We live in a culture that does not recognize evil that is all around us. Why? I believe we do not know what evil is anymore because we are using society's standard as a measuring rod. How guilty have I been of evaluating my sin haughtily against someone else's instead of using the Bible as my standard. Do I even know what pleases God and what He detests? Or do I rely on my own ideas of what right standing before Him means? My own discernment will get me in trouble every time because I have a heart that is easily deceived the Bible assures me.

Evil is much more deceptive here because it comes to us wrapped up in a beautiful package, one that is tantalizing to our sinful natures. My sweet sisters, there is something desperately wrong when our culture embraces what God detests and we can make millions of dollars as people laugh at the sin of adultery (i.e., David Letterman). When "family-friendly" means watching shows on television which depict children on a sitcom that are made to look smarter than their parents as they roll their eyes and shun authority in their lives. When what sells the most magazines are gossip and slander and lauding of ungodly acts committed by others.

Where are you and I in all of this? Are we standing up for the truth or are we being carried along by popular opinion as we become more and more hardened to the deadly consequences of calling what is bad good and what is good bad? Oh girlfriends, we cannot forget Who we belong to. We have been bought with a price.

Jesus, help us to know the face of evil and stand for righteousness!