For the past twelve hours I have been thinking a lot about evil. It’s definition is vast but the byproduct is everywhere we look. Open up any newspaper, turn on the news, listen to what is happening foreign countries. It is hard to deny that evil permeates the world. From innocent children hurt to those that are willing to harm others in a race to power. Many times it makes me overcome thinking about the world that my children are now growing up in. No longer are they freely allowed to run free in a park or travel/ explore on their bikes. Those were simpler times. But those times also did not lack evil.
As I was thinking of what evil is, it often was the pumping up of my self and own ego at the expense of others. It is a conscious and deliberate decision to do wrong. While we often define “evil” as something more heinous than simply a white lie, the decision to do wrong is in our everyday. Each day we all have the option to do evil. It might be to cheat others out of something that was rightfully theirs or ignoring members of your family when they are in need. We do not like to think that we each participate in the evil in the world through our actions each day.
Too often we compare our evil or sins against another. That we are less sinless than another. Or thinking that I am a better person because of the amount of offenses that I committed today was less than person x. Realizing that any amount of sin keeps us aways from God, it makes no difference in how much evil we do. It all amounts to all of us falling short of what God wanted for us. But through Jesus we have been forgiven.
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faithin[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.- Romans 3:21-26
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. –Romans 8:22-25 (Message)
As we start this march and journey toward Christmas, the first Sunday of Advent is hope. Christian hope is more than wish for gift under the Christmas tree, but is intertwined with the tension of our daily lives. The hope that Christ brings thrives and become clear due to the tension and problems of this world. As we daily scan the newspapers and endure life we wait and anticipate a time of hope. Hope that everything will be alright. Hope that all the pain and problems of this life will go away. Is that the hope that this season is all about? Simply that our pains will go away or is it something more?