Peter used the word “bless” to describe the response of those in the church who find themselves under the hand of evil men. (1Peter 3:9)
Concerning those of who profess Christ and see evil from afar, Thomas Aquinas saw two Christian duties. The First is to combat it by every means and the second is to believe that God will vanquish it according to the perfect (but hidden) wisdom of His providence. Aquinas’ reflection on the issue of responding to evil reflects the Bible’s exhortation to hate evil. The Prophet Amos wrote, “Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate …” (Amos 5:15)
When evil occurs, there are always those who admonish Christians who are outraged and use the Bible to call for loving enemies. Christians are to love all men. Christians are also to be people who stand for truth and justice. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Believers in the risen Lord Jesus are never to “wink” at evil. Christians are not to respond with a man-centered idea of love. Often this response is recommended by those who haven’t actually been the objects of evil. We worship a holy God. He is holy and He is love. He defined love in the cross of Christ. When you see evil done on others, seek justice. Know that God will pour out His wrath upon all evil and wickedness.
It is never right to spiritualize the Christian response to evil. Evil is real. Whereas, evil is not a thing. It is behavior that opposes God. The short definition of evil is that it is the absence of good. The Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” (3John 11)
The Christian response to evil is clear. In response to evil believers are to do good. When we see evil being done to others, our response should be to seek justice by all lawful means available. When we experience evil our response is to do good knowing that God will execute perfect justice.
Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA).