Author: Sallie Ross (wife of our Bishop Ken Ross) wrote a full lent devotional a few years ago. We’ll be using a few selections from it during our church’s observation of lent.
Text: Psalm 97:10
Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones. Psalm 97:10
We cannot afford to be casual about evil. We cannot afford to be blind to evil. We can only afford to have our hearts transformed into the likeness of our Lord.
Before I came to faith I was student teaching at a middle school in the mountains. On Halloween morning a ninth grader came into the school in costume: with torn clothing, a woman’s stocking over his face, and a cowboy hat that had a sign on it that said: “n_______ beater”. My insides recoiled. Even though it was only a costume, there was a palpable sense of evil before me. As it turned out, one week later that same 15 year old murdered a 60 year old woman who owned a record shop in town, for the sum of $76.
Not all evil is as evident; not all evil reveals itself in full bloom. But as Christians we know; there is a response in our spirit and we have a choice. We can respond to it or we can press on ignoring– perhaps uncomfortable with noticing and not wanting to “cause a scene”.
When we reside in the presence of God, when we are intentional about remaining with Him, then the faces of evil are all the more hideous as they rob people of life–spiritual, physical, mental. One of my sons has a visceral response when he is in the presence of evil; it is a response that manifests itself in his actually feeling physically sick. While it’s certainly not a pleasant response, it gets his attention and sends him another direction. We should all pray for the same. God’s protection is upon us, and free will is given to us. As long as we stay in the field of the Lord, we will be under His covering. But when we begin to tolerate or entertain evil, we are opening ourselves in ways that can destroy us.
–Father God, I may feel good about the choices I make in my life, and I give you thanks for the grace to make those choices. But I need your light to show me the places where I am tolerant of evil. Be it out of ignorance or just not wanting to cause a stir, grab a hold of my heart, please Father. That I may see evil for what it is, that I may respond with your heart. Give me such a heart for You and your people that I am not afraid to stand–more so afraid to not stand.