Apparently the debate went real well for Mitt Romney from what I’m seeing in my email box and on social media. Many voters are lamenting the fact that we once again are stuck with voting for “the lesser of two evils.” I used to have the same lament but then I wondered if there were any other possibilities. Is there a such thing as a man or a woman who is not evil, biblically speaking that is? Is that “perfect” candidate or “good” candidate available? Can we judge a man by his words only or does his record count? What if he doesn’t have a record of public service? How do we judge him then? Just by his words? I have found in my 55 years on earth that it is far easier to say you will do right then to actually do it when faced with the situation.
So is there such a thing as a man not being evil, because if we are not to vote for the lesser of two evils or to never chose evil, what are our options when it comes to man? Is there even someone we can look at and call righteous?
“What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:9-20)
The opposite of evil is good and Random House Dictionary defines good as “morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious.” By that definition I am not a good man. I dare not call myself morally excellent; I fail morally far too often to describe myself as such.
I’m a little more comfortable calling myself virtuous until I read Random House’s definition: “conforming to moral and ethical principles.” Is that me? Yes, most of the time.
How about righteous? By Biblical standards I fail miserably and I don’t hold up so well by Random House’s definition either: “characterized by uprightness or morality; morally right or justifiable.”
Am I a pious man? Again, Random House defines it as “having or showing a dutiful spirit of reverence for God or an earnest wish to fulfill religious obligations.” Okay, if I take just the “earnest wish” part there I’m good; however my dutiful spirit of reverence for God finds me derelict at times.
I wonder if voters actually know what they mean when they say they don’t want to vote for the lesser of two evils? Does that mean you wouldn’t vote for yourself? I wouldn’t vote for me if I was me or if I was you. I fail to meet the standard of not being evil. Now of course I can fool myself and think I’m all that, but in the end God wins out and proves me evil:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
I think it is high time to get off my high horse and stop looking down at people. Perhaps if I walk in the way of righteousness, a way that is a narrow path that requires focus and discipline, I’ll spend more time trying to stay on the straight and narrow instead of pointing out the errors of everyone else.
You see, there is enough evil in me to keep me busy for the rest of my life. Does this mean I’m going to check out of life and not comment on society? No, but it does mean I am going to try to slow down my pen and sit and think a little more before I speak. Jesus’ brother thought that was a good idea:
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)
OH! That last part finally took hold. My wrath that I pour out on others does not produce the righteousness of God? Talk about a rude awakening! Why is this so?
Because only God can produce righteousness because only He is righteous. Only the Lord is holy.
“Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11)
I am called to be holy because God is holy. I am to be set apart because I was bought at a price, the blood of Jesus Christ. The calling I have from God’s Word is a daunting task and in my humanness if I believe I am up to the task without Him I am helpless to perform it. Allow your heart to listen carefully as you read Isaiah’s words again for the first time:
“‘Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword’; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:16-20)
Beloved we can throw up our hands and cry out all is lost or we can be about the Lord’s business in spreading the gospel, standing for righteousness, shining a light in the darkness that surrounds us, and making our part of the world in which we live better for our being there.
That is the work of a Holy God; the Lord is holy and by His working in and through us we too can be holy.
Perhaps then there will be a little less evil in this world. Perhaps…
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers