The Face of Evil

O Lord, you God of vengeance, you God of vengeance, shine forth!

Rise up, O judge of the earth; give to the proud what they deserve!

O Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult?

They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast.

They crush your people, O Lord, and afflict your heritage.

They kill the widow and the stranger, they murder the orphan,

and they say, “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

 

This morning I read Psalm 94 from the Bible. I thought that maybe the author’s opinion of what is going on in places of power in his day was very much like mine. The impudence, the arrogance, the deceit, the mind-bending games and the crazy-making in high places lands squarely in my theological category of “sinful,” and I can defend my conclusion solidly and I have lots of friends who are trained in theology who agree with me. I truly believe it is sinful, and as such, in accordance with the vow of my baptism to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being,” I believe I am called to act. I find that I have to watch how much time I spend thinking about it because it quickly ties me in knots.

Knots in the soul are indications of something wrong. It can’t be surprising, then, when I was caught up short yesterday by someone who shared that they were struggling to forgive these same people. I confess, I struggle with the same thing. Part of me doesn’t WANT to forgive!

I also confess that the evil of unforgiveness is the same willfulness that I so quickly condemn in people in power who are doing what I believe is sinful. The face of evil may very well be seen first in the other, but it must be fought first within. When we are looking with compassion on the face of evil within we will know how to face the evil without.

(Lord, help my unbelief!)

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