1 John 3:18,19
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.
The problem of evil
Our basic problem with evil is struggling with three things
– If God is good – then why is there evil shouldn’t a good God do the good thing and wipe out evil
– If God is all-powerful – why does he allow evil to exist can’t he simply wipe evil out
– That fact that evil exist at all with an all-powerful all-good God
There are several solutions to this problem
Deny God exist and with it the reality of evil
“Their right is just as right as our right”
If it were not for a loving God that gives us a standard of right and wrong there would be no understanding that anything is evil.
Make evil part of God
if everything is part of god rather than the personal God we believe in, then evil and suffering are part of that god too
Diminish God’s power
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Diminish God’s goodness
In other words, we believe God is powerful and he sees all the evil in the world but just doesn’t want to do anything about it, He lacks the goodness to take action against evil
So those were the understandings people must have if they are going to judge God on his character but what do we say to friends to give them hope in their time of need
Point of light #1
The world is as Jesus said that it was
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Point of light #2
Evil was not caused or created by God
Actually, it is quite the opposite
1 John 4:8
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
Point of light #3
At the root of most of the evil and suffering are humans
Roughly 90% of the suffering in the world comes through human causes: wars, genocide, human trafficking, murders, torture, racial discrimination, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, rape, and the list goes on.
God will stop all of this one day but the time is not now
Point of light #4
We live in a fallen world
In Genesis 3 we see because of man’s sin that not only was man cursed but so was the ground.
For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope Romans 8:19,20
Point of light #5
God will judge evil
Once again many say if God is good and great why doesn’t he get rid of evil…He will but His love constrains Him.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
Last point of light
God can cause good to come out of evil
We quote this scripture often Romans 8:28
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”
This is not a verse to use as a cliché but instead use it wisely if the person can understand it
– Beyond this we know according to God will use difficulty in our lives to strengthen our character
– He can use intended evil to give us an eternal perspective
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
– Evil and suffering can even lead us to the Father
- If the question is being asked chances are the person is hurting. Don’t worry about answering the question but love them through to heal the hurt.
- Don’t freak out if your friends in their hurt say things about God or even your faith, pain tends to speak quite loudly they need you to show them, Jesus not just talk to them about Him
- Prayer is almost always an appropriate response to a friend in pain, prayer for them and pray for wisdom for you
- It is hard to explain to someone with no faith or fading faith that God is good and great and allows evil to exist but if you have been touched by similar pain share it is a way of showing you understand and are living proof God can get you through it
- Don’t underestimate the power of love and encouragement. When you share with them these things they will hear it from you if they have felt that coming from you…Be Jesus to them