Evil Must Be Called Evil

Evil Must Be Called Evil

Article by Greg Pinkner
Woe to those who call evil good  
and good evil,  
      who put darkness for light  
and light for darkness,  
      who put bitter for sweet  
and sweet for bitter! 
    Isaiah 5:20 
We are watching as Western Civilization seems to be fraying and coming apart. It may or may not be, but the redefining of everything from gender to food is having a massive impact not only on how we see the world but also how we understand it. One of the most prevalent ways we see this is right before us and has big impacts on all sorts of places is regarding good and, especially, evil.  
Evil, as a concept and category, is largely missing from our culture. I know you are thinking, “No, we have people calling each other evil all the time.” But think it through- we largely call acts of misanthropy and violence as occurring because of trauma, mental illness, and poverty. The villains in our movies and stories are now misunderstood people, not agents of evil and moral corruption. Consider that in the 1980s, Darth Vader was added to the National Cathedral as a grotesque of evil. Now, he has a backstory that says he did it all for love.

When we boil down evil to a set of cultural issues or personality misalignments, we lose the ability to call people to good and to oppose evil. It puts us in a place of helplessness against evil. We believe that education, therapy, and reducing social stress points like poverty will eliminate evil from the world. It won’t. We, as Christians, know it won’t.

Christianity teaches us that evil has an existence in the human heart that won’t leave and must be resisted. The faith teaches us that we must not only resist the evil within ourselves but to teach our children to do the same, to call our government and neighbors and institutions to be in the process of making sure that which is evil is called evil and excised as evil.
Evil must be called evil. It must be named and identified. When evil is present, its greatest ally is silence. Our time has given us all the chances we would need to call people we disagree with evil but made us call mass murderers or violent criminals traumatized or put the blame of the crime on society itself.

As Christians, we must have the compassion to heal the traumatized, the sense of justice to remediate societal wrongs and exclusionary practices, the generosity to improve the lives of the downtrodden, and the clarity to call out that which is good and right as the only path worthy of walking. 

There are all sorts of issues that will be tangential to this that would need to be addressed, but space does not allow. Issues like how to forgive, what must be forgiven, and how to walk with the necessary values of justice and mercy are just some of those topics.

The lack of clarity around evil is an evil. It keeps us from being able as a culture to say this action will cause us all to excise you from us. It is intolerable. It also calls us to a place of restraint. To not use evil quickly or as a throwaway line is to treat evil as a category that demands respect.
Our God is good. There is no shadow of evil in Him. He calls us to him and to understand that evil is everything opposite of Him. We cannot accept it. Without evil as a category, there is a piece of the Creation that is not accessible to us. We will feel lost. You can see it in our culture now.

To not call evil "evil" is evil. 


Lead Teaching Pastor
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