For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil… (Eph. 6:12)
In my twenties, I tried to deny the existence of evil. After all, I’ve seen and experienced in the last forty years, I’m now clear that evil is real. I’m also clear that denying its existence only makes us more vulnerable to it.
The place that most revealed evil to me was the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. When you walk through the doors, you immediately see the actual railroad tracks that led to one of the death camps. As you continue further into the museum, you see bins of glasses and watches and shoes and gold fillings and luggage. You then see pictures of Adolf Hitler whipping up a murderous frenzy from huge crowds, book-burning parties, and the looting of Jewish homes and businesses.
The longer I spent in the museum, the more I could feel the palpable reality of evil. I kept on wondering: How could Germany have descended into such darkness? Of course, there were many historical, political, and economic reasons; but these reasons don’t fully explain all that happened. What happened was evil—the insidious and seductive and pervasive reality of evil took over.
We need to come to terms with the reality of evil. It exists. We shouldn’t deny it. Denying it, again, only makes us more vulnerable to it. The evil of the holocaust happened. And evil has other faces, other voices. We must not forget the damage the forces of evil have done. We must not think that those forces no longer exist.
We are, as Paul says, doing a spiritual battle. We must not face this battle by ourselves. We need each other. We need the power and protection of God. Just as Jesus faced and defeated all the powers of death, sin, and evil on the cross, let us be encouraged that with His power and protection at our side, we can do the same.
- Have you ever felt like you’ve faced evil? If so, when and where? If so, how did you react?
- What do you think about Paul’s belief that we’re all doing spiritual battles? What might be some of the spiritual battles you’ve faced or are now facing?
- Even though evil exists, we aren’t meant to live in fear. With Jesus at our side, we can be victors and not victims. Where and how might you need the protection of Jesus right now?