Sometimes it can appear that those of us who focus on God’s grace and forgiveness are “soft” on evil. It may even seem like we do not take evil seriously. But there is no question that the Gospel has some strong things to say about the need to resist evil. When Jesus encountered evil in the lives of people, he was quick and decisive to confront and eradicate it, but always with grace and forgiveness. Confronting evil was an integral part of the healing and liberation that Jesus offered. Now, as we seek to follow Jesus, we are also called to confront and eradicate the evil in our corner of the world.
Part of the challenge in this call to resist evil is that it’s really important to exercise wise discernment. It is easy to label as evil anything with which we disagree, or anything that is strange and new. We need to be careful to discern what evil really is, and how we must resist it, and what may be strange but good. We need to be especially careful before we label people as evil, since all people are created in God’s image. It is seldom as simple as drawing clear “black and white” lines between good and evil. Jesus was so good at recognising the true evil that was at work, and at honouring the goodness and humanity even within those who seemed to be completely evil. This is why, this week, we need to explore the nature of good and evil, and learn what we are called to oppose and what we are called to embrace.
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