Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
no one who does what is right and never sins.
This only have I found:
God created mankind upright,
but they have gone in search of many schemes.”
Eccelsiastes 7:29 (NIV)
It is election season here in the U.S. and every television commercial seems to be an attack ad of one form or another. On either side of the aisle these attack ads are all lies, half-truths, obfuscations, and misleading innuendos. Politicians say they hate these ads, but each side says they “must” produce them in response to the other side and they are forced to do it because they work. And, they do work just like the lies, half-truths, obfuscations, and misleading innuendos politicians feed to the press and the public to cover their butts and scheme for their own political agendas on a daily basis.
I was thinking about all this as I drove home from the Twin Cities yesterday. I have long bought in to what Solomon observed in today’s chapter. Evil exists and there will always be those in society who scheme to fulfill their own insatiable desires for personal power, prestige, profits and/or pleasures. When well intentioned individuals and groups try to pursue a winning hand of altruistic, well-intentioned goodwill, evil in its endless array of manifestations is always the trump card on the other side of the table.
I do not think that this means we stop pursuing peace and goodwill. In fact, I believe we need to pursue it all the more vigorously. At the same time, I have come to believe that we cannot pursue good with our eyes closed. For good to succeed in a fallen world, we must acknowledge that evil will seek to thwart its every effort. In some cases evil reveals itself in the violent hacking off of an innocent hostage’s head. In other cases, it subtly works its way into the hearts of of well intentioned, seemingly upright politicians and leads them down a path towards schemes for lust for power, prestige, and personal gain. In all of its manifestations, we must address evil if we are to achieve the good God calls us to do. Jesus began his three years of ministry by confronting the Enemy in the wilderness. In his ministry, Jesus confronted evil as regularly as He healed, fed, loved, and forgave. We would be wise to heed His example.