Do Not Delight in Evil

by Laura Courtney

“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)


A Facebook friend of mine (do you know who you are?) posted this a few weeks ago his page. This really stuck out to me at the time and, reflecting on this week’s focus in our summer reading guide, came back to me again.

That question that C.S. Lewis poses –  “Is one’s first feeling ‘Thank God’… or is it a feeling of disappointment” – is one I feel we all need to honestly answer. Because for me, if I’m being honest with myself, I know if have tendencies towards the latter. And if we don’t acknowledge that truth in our own thinking, we will just continue to seek out, and consequently seek to delight in, the evil that we read and hear about in the lives of those around us.

But as we read from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we are not to delight in evil but to rejoice in truth. Clearly this was a troublesome point for the people of Corinth at the time too. Can I rabbit trail here and just say how grateful I am that God’s Word is relevant for us in all periods of our lives… whether we live in the year 50 or 2021!

But if we look at this characteristic of love in 2021, what does this mean for our lives here and now? Do we delight in evil by listening or participating in gossip? Do we follow celebrities or even “friends” on social media to watch and compare how much better we are then them? Are we looking for the bad in others to try to make ourselves feel better?

Love does not delight in evil. Do not let the evil of this world fill your heart. Do not let the black darkness steal the light from your spirit. Maybe this means you need to stop being around those friends that continually gossip, or at least ask them to stop talking about others with you. Maybe you need to unfollow or unfriend friends on Facebook if you are only using their profiles to judge them and their actions. Maybe you need to pray for yourself and ask God to show you where you need to expend love more.

Let us join together and rejoice in the faithfulness of our God and His truth and power above the darkness of this world. Let us share in each others celebrations and pray for one another in our troubles. Let us not let the darkness and evil of this world overcome us and divide us, but let it unify us and join us all the stronger in the hope and truth of our Lord and Savior.

“So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
(Ephesians 4:14-16)

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