What to Do When Evil Prevails (Malachi 2:17-3:6)
Court finds custodial parents’ rights can be restricted if they threaten the health or safety of their children….
“What is the definition of evil?”
Answer: Evil is usually thought of as that which is morally wrong, sinful, or wicked; however, the word evilcan also refer to anything that causes harm, with or without the moral dimension. The word is used both ways in the Bible. Anything that contradicts the holy nature of God is evil (see Psalm 51:4). On the flip side, any disaster, tragedy, or calamity can also be called an “evil” (see 1 Kings 17:20, KJV).
Evil behavior includes sin committed against other people (murder, theft, adultery) and evil committed against God (unbelief, idolatry, blasphemy). From the disobedience in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9) to the wickedness of Babylon the Great (Revelation 18:2), the Bible speaks of the fact of evil, and man is held responsible for the evil he commits: “The one who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:20).
Essentially, evil is a lack of goodness. Moral evil is not a physical thing; it is a lack or privation of a good thing. As Christian philosopher J. P. Moreland has noted, “Evil is a lack of goodness. It is goodness spoiled. You can have good without evil, but you cannot have evil without good.” Or as Christian apologist Greg Koukl has said, “Human freedom was used in such a way as to diminish goodness in the world, and that diminution, that lack of goodness, that is what we call evil.”
God is love (1 John 4:8); the absence of love in a person is un-God-like and therefore evil. And an absence of love manifests itself in unloving behavior. The same can be said concerning God’s mercy, justice, patience, etc. The lack of these godly qualities in anyone constitutes evil. That evil then manifests itself in behavior that is unmerciful, unjust, impatient, etc., bringing more harm into the good world that God has made. As it turns out, we lack a lot: “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one’” (Romans 3:10).
Moral evil is wrong done to others, and it can exist even when unaccompanied by external action. Murder is an evil action, but it has its start with the moral evil of hatred in the heart (Matthew 5:21–22). Committing adultery is evil, but so is the moral evil of lust in the heart (Matthew 5:27–28). Jesus said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7:20–23).
Satan blinds people.
8. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
9. 2 Corinthians 11:14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
Those who fall into evil behavior usually start slowly. Paul shows the tragic progression into more and more evil in Romans 1. It starts with refusing to glorify God or give thanks to Him (Romans 1:21), and it ends with God giving them over to a “depraved mind” and allowing them to be “filled with every kind of wickedness” (verses 28–29).
The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that family law judges may limit a custodial parent’s authority when necessary to protect a child from harm, including by ordering that the child receive counseling.
Last Thursday, the court weighed into a dispute between two parents, Paul E. and Courtney F., who disagreed about how to respond to their child’s gender dysphoria. Courtney F. had largely embraced the idea that her child, L., was transgender, and treated L. according to their gender identity, allowing L. to dress in girls’ clothes, play with stereotypically female toys, and referring to L. using feminine pronouns.
Paul E. objected to this open approach to gender identity, and felt that L. would be better served if not encouraged to identify as a female at such a young age. But he did agree to allow L. to see a therapist with whom L. could talk to about their feelings of gender dysphoria, although only in a clinical setting.
After a week-long trial in family court, the judge awarded primary custody to Paul E. but ordered that the child’s then-current therapist continue treating the child. The court also appointed an expert on the mental health of transgender children to advise the parties and the court about ongoing treatment.
Paul E. appealed, claiming that the trial judge did not have the authority to make those decisions. The Arizona Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the lower court, finding that family law judges cannot require that a custodial parent provide counseling for a child or appoint a specific counselor. Courtney F. appealed that ruling to the State Supreme Court.
Now, the Arizona Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that state law authorizes the family court to limit a custodial parent’s authority to protect a child from physical or emotional harm. However, the court also found that such orders must be narrowly tailored to the specific circumstances in each case.
“[R]efusing to retain particular therapeutic services could justify an order requiring such services if refraining from doing so would endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development,” Justice Ann Scott Timmer wrote on behalf of the court. “The limitation imposed can be a prohibition or a directive. But any limitation must be tailored to prevent or remedy the endangerment or impairment. The court must be mindful not to unnecessarily intrude on the sole legal decision-maker’s unshared authority to make major decisions concerning the child’s upbringing, even if those decisions conflict with expert opinion or the court’s own views on childrearing.”
In this particular case, the Supreme Court found that the trial court’s order did not include specific findings that would support ordering Paul E. to ensure L. continue seeing a particular therapist.
“If the evidence showed that L. would be placed at risk for physical danger or significantly impaired emotionally if Father chose not to maintain therapy for L. or consult with a gender expert, the court could compel therapy and consultation,” Timmer wrote. “But absent evidence demonstrating that Father would choose an unqualified or ineffective therapist or gender expert, [the statute] did not authorize the court to select a specific therapist and expert.”
As a result, the Supreme Court has sent the case back to the trial court judge so they can issue a new order tailored to the specific circumstances of the case and L.’s specific needs.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights, which helped represent Courtney F., praised the court’s decision — not necessarily because of the outcome for L., but because of the clarity it gives family-court judges who might deal with similar custody cases involving gender-nonconforming children in the future.
“We are pleased that the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed that family-court judges have the flexibility to craft custody orders that protect children from harm, including requiring a custodial parent to provide a gender nonconforming child with supportive counseling and care,” Shannon Minter, legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in a statement. “This is particularly important for transgender children who require specialized healthcare to address their unique needs.”
“This is an important decision that will provide family courts with more guidance about when to issue orders limiting a custodial parent’s authority and about the need to tailor such orders carefully, based on the specific circumstances in each case,” Taylor Young, an attorney with law firm Mandel Young, PLC, who argued the case before the Arizona Supreme Court.
“Family court judges must be able to protect children from harm,” Young added. “[This] opinion preserves their ability to do so, including by ensuring that children receive necessary counseling and care.” Source
Those who practice evil are in Satan’s trap and are slaves to sin: “Opponents [of the Lord’s servant] must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25–26; see also John 8:34). Only by the grace of God can we be set free.
Physical evil is the trouble that befalls people in the world, and it may or may not be linked to moral evil or divine judgment. Ecclesiastes 11:2 counsels us to diversify our investments, for this reason: “thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth” (KJV). The word evil in this case means “disaster,” “misfortune,” or “calamity,” and that’s how other translations word it. Sometimes, physical evil is simply the result of an accident or causes unknown, with no known moral cause; examples would include injuries, car wrecks, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Other times, physical evil is God’s retribution for the sins of an individual or group. Sodom and the surrounding cities were destroyed for their sins (Genesis 19), and God “made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:6). Many times, God warned Israel of the calamities that awaited them if they rebelled: “[The LORD] also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity” (Isaiah 31:2, KJV). In all cases, God works through the situation to bring about His good purpose (Romans 8:28).
God is not the author of moral evil; rather, it is His holiness that defines it. Created in God’s image, we bear the responsibility to make moral choices that please God and conform to His will. He wills our sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3) and does not wish us to sin (James 1:13). In repentance and faith in Christ, we have forgiveness of sin and a reversal of the moral evil within us (Acts 3:19). As God’s children, we walk according to this command: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
Many Christians assume that to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22, KJV) is to avoid any behavior anyone might perceive as being evil. Not only do we flee from that which is evil, we flee from that which appears to be evil. For instance, a pastor should not be seen frequenting a bar because someone may think he is getting drunk. However, the actual meaning of this verse is a matter of some debate within Christendom.
Depending on the Bible version you use, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 refers to the “appearance of evil” (KJV), “every kind of evil” (NIV and NLT), or “every form of evil” (NRSV, NKJV, and ESV). Each is a good translation. The Greek word translated “appearance,” “form,” or “kind” can mean any of these things. The same word is used in 2 Corinthians 5:7 and translated as “sight.”
Obviously, the difference in translations can lead to a difference in application. Is it the appearance of evil we should be concerned with, or is it staying away from all forms of evil?
One problem with emphasizing the appearance of evil is that it can make us slaves to the perceptions of others. There will always be someone who thinks that something you are doing is wrong, or that it lookswrong to him. So, rather than spending our time getting to know God and serving Him, we worry about the possibility that someone, somewhere, might misconstrue our actions. In the same letter that he wrote about avoiding evil, Paul wrote, “Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). Our goal is to live righteously before God, not to comply with others’ arbitrary standards of conduct.
At the same time, we are instructed not to allow our Christian freedom to become a stumbling block to others (1 Corinthians 8:9). We are also instructed to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Christians have been set apart (2 Corinthians 6:17).
The Bible is replete with passages that our body (if you are a born again Christian) is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19; 1 Cor. 3:16; James 4:4). Our body (or I should say God’s temple) wasn’t meant to be used contrary to God’s will, but instead meant to be used to glorify Him and offer it as a sacrifice to Him (1 Cor. 6:20; Rom. 12:10). The only Biblically sanctioned sex (which doesn’t include sodomy and oral sex) is that of a husband and and his wife.
But the problem is that the devil has deceived society so much so that most people don’t see homosexual sex as immoral (as long it is between two consenting adults it is okay, right?). The world calls homosexual sex love but the Bible calls it an abomination. Even certain churches have conceded to the world by accepting homosexuality. According to a Gallup poll, more than half of Protestants in the U.S. support gay marriage. Some churches have gone as far as having homosexuals in leadership. Why would a homosexual repent when even churches have started to consider it acceptable? However the Bible is clear and explicit on the matter and God’s word is eternal and scripture can’t be broken.
(Leviticus 18:22) “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: (IT IS ABOMINATION)”
(Leviticus 20:13) “(IF A MAN ALSO LIE WITH MANKIND, AS HE LIETH WITH A WOMAN, BOTH OF THEM HAVE COMMITTED AN ABOMINATION): they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them”
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10) “Do you not know that the unrighteous (WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD?) Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor (HOMOSEXUALS), nor (SODOMITES), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God”
Definition of SODOMY: Anal or oral sexual intercourse between human beings, or any sexual relations between a human being and an animal.
(Jude 1:7) “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, (HAVING GIVEN THEMSELVES OVER TO SEXUAL IMMORAILTY AND GONE AFTER STRANGE FLESH), are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire”
(Isaiah 3:9) “The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and (THEY DECLARE THEIR SIN AS SODOM), they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves”
(Luke 17:28-30) Jesus said, “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But (THE SAME DAY THAT LOT WENT OUT OF SODOM IT RAINED FIRE AND BRIMSTONE FROM HEAVEN, AND DESTROYED THEM ALL). Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed”
(Mark 10:6-9) “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘(MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE). For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and (BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH); so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate”
(1 Timothy 1:10) “For whoremongers, (FOR THEM THAT DEFILE THEMSELVES WITH MANKIND), for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that (IS CONTRARY TO SOUND DOCTRINE)”
(Romans 1:26-27) “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. (FOR EVEN THEIR WOMEN EXCHANGED THE NATURAL USE) for what is against nature. Likewise (ALSO THE MEN, LEAVING THE NATURAL USE OF THE WOMEN, BURNED IN THEIR LUST FOR ONE ANOTHER), men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due”
(Deuteronomy 22:5) “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, (NOR SHALL A MAN PUT ON A WOMAN’S GARMENT), for all who do so (ARE AN ABOMINATION) to the Lord your God”
(1 Corinthians 6:18-20) “(FLEE SEXUAL IMMORALITY). Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but (HE WHO COMMITS SEXUAL IMMORALITY SINS AGAINST HIS OWN BODY). Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”
(1 Thessalonians 4:2-5) “for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you (SHOULD ABSTAIN FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY); that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, (NOT IN PASSION OF LUST), like the Gentiles who do not know God”
(1 John 2:16) “For all that is in the world, (THE LUST OF THE FLESH, THE LUST OF THE EYES), and the pride of life is not of the Father but (IS OF THE WORLD)”
Romans 8:5-6) “For (THOSE WHO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE FLESH SET THEIR MINDS ON THE THINGS OF THE FLESH), but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be (CARNALLY MINDED IS DEATH), but to be spiritually minded is life and peace”
(Galatians 6:7-8) “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who (SOWS TO HIS FLESH WILL OF THE FLESH REAP CORRUPTION), but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life”
(Romans 8:13) “For (IF YOU LIVE ACCORDING TO THE FLESH YOU WILL DIE); but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”
(Hebrews 13:4) “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but (WHORE-MONGERS AND ADULTERERS GOD WILL JUDGE)”
(2 Timothy 3:1-5) “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For (MEN WILL BE LOVERS OF THEMSELVES), lovers of money, boasters, (PROUD), blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, (LOVERS OF PLEASURE RATHER THAN LOVERS OF GOD), having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
(James 4:4) “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? (WHOEVER THEREFORE WANTS TO BE A FRIEND OF THE WORLD MAKES HIMSELF AN ENEMY OF GOD)”
(Revelation 9:20-21) “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And (THEY DID NOT REPENT OF) their murders or their sorceries or (THEIR SEXUAL IMMORALITY) or their thefts”
(Psalm 9:17) “(THE WICKED SHALL BE TURNED INTO HELL), and all the nations that forget God”
(Colossians 3:5-6) “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, (UNCLEANNESS, PASSION, EVIL DESIRE), and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things (THE WRATH OF GOD IS COMING UPON THE SONS OF DISOBEDIENCE)”
(Revelation 21:8) “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and (WHORE-MONGERS), and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, (SHALL HAVE THEIR PART IN THE LAKE WHICH BURNETH WITH FIRE AND BRIMSTONE): which is the second death”
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you can receive Him into your heart and He can deliver you from darkness and sin and have your name written in His Book of Life.
If you are sincere you can say this simple prayer to the Father (it doesn’t have to be word for word):
“God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. Please forgive me of all of my sins just as I forgive others. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross, I believe in my heart Jesus is Lord and was raised from the dead and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in the Lord and GOD Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.” Source
MY MISSION IS NOT TO CONVINCE YOU, ONLY TO INFORM…
Evil men don’t understand the importance of justice, but those who follow the Lord are much concerned about it. ~ Proverbs 28:5
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