Monday, April 22, 2013

Evil and Suffering

3 events this week - Monday - Boston Marathon bombing - (3 dead, 170 injured)
                             - Wednesday - Explosion in Waco - (14 dead, 200 injured)
                             - Friday - suicide death of young man from Watson

NOTE:  not all suffering is immediate/direct result of Evil - example:  Waco - just a tragic accident
But, naturally, they often go together, therefore, addressed together.

First/most asked question = "Why?"  - IF God is all good and sovereign.
But today we're looking at the practical side..... ie:  our response.

Divided into:  I.  Our Response to Sufferers
                    II.  Our Response as Observers
                   III.  Our Response to Evil

I.  The Christian (immediate) Response to Sufferers
Compassion         Prayer         Aid and Assistance

1.  Compassion - heartfelt concern, hurting in heart) - Rom. 12:15  "who is my neighbor?"
We should hurt when others hurt
2.  Prayer - James 5:16 - because prayer is effective/to heal!!  We believe prayer makes a difference.

3.  Aid & Assistance  1 John 3:16-19
Obviously - this equals money, material - when God has placed it within our means to help.
Also means love/comfort/encouragement, etc.  We need to give what we have to meet needs as they come up.

II.  Our Response as Observers - from a distance - while we watch
         Two extremes - 1)  Indifference
                                  2)  Despair
Another option:          3)  improvement - seeing suffering in such a way that it affects in a way that improves life.
Compare the Biblical concept of personal suffering leading to personal improvement (if we choose to let it)
1 Pet. 1:6-7  James 1:2-4

Quote by Waco fire survivor:  "It is not what happens to us, but how we handle it.  We will overcome this."
Life is not determined by what happens to me; but by how I respond to what happens to me.

Point:  needn't be only our personal suffering that achieves this.  We can benefit from the sufferings of others as well.

The tragedy of others can drive you to your knees, to God, to introspection, adjustment, correction, improvement, to commitment, to service.

Often say:  "Don't waste your sorrows".  Can include "Don't waste theirs".

III.  Our Response to Evil
Could be denial, indifference, defeat.
Biblical response?  - Eph. 6:10-13
Recognize, stand firm, fight against = broad, general terms

Add:  defiance - ie:  Resistance with an attitude - boldness, stubbornness, combativeness against a stronger foe!!!   Suffering affirms faith. 

From a poem by John Donne - English poet, lawyer, cleric - 1572 - 1631

'Death be not proud,
though some have called thee

Mighty and Dreadfull, for,
thou art not so....

One short sleepe past,
wee wake eternally,

And death shall be no more;
Death thou shalt die.'
(re-written here in the old English)

NOTE:  Defiance of evil is presumptuous and futile in own power - WITHOUT CHRIST!!!!
But, with Him, Rev. 12:9-11, 13:10 - hang in there!

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