I believe in depravity and yet I am sometimes still surprised by how sinful we as humans can be.
Coming face to face with the reality of death is shocking and sad, but, I think coming face to face with the depths of human depravity is even worse.
It’s one thing to see people sinning who haven’t really had access to the gospel, but it’s another to see people who have heard the gospel confessing that gospel and yet secretly pursuing perversion.
What do you when the curtain is pulled back?
The truth is, I often wish it wasn’t. I didn’t want to see that. I didn’t want to know that. But I did and I do. So what now, besides, that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach?
1. Sometimes I am tempted to doubt, but the reality is, the reason I struggle with doubt is because I actually believe. If I didn’t believe there was such a thing as holiness, I wouldn’t be saddened when I am confronted by evil. It’s because I believe in the goodness of God, that I have such a hard time with the wickedness of people. So first, hold firm. Don’t waver. It’s because of what you know is true about God that seeing this is so difficult. Letting go of what you know is true about God won’t make it easier, it will make the world that much more awful.
2. Thank God. If it’s not my evil I am seeing but someone else’s, the reality is, apart from the grace of God at work in my life, they could be me, or I guess, I could be them. It’s not primarily genetics that keeps me from doing what they are doing. It’s not primarily my personality. It’s the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in my life, and that work is something for me to constantly be giving thanks to God about, especially when I see what happens in a person’s life without it.
3. Can you say, Habakkuk? You are not the first to wonder what God’s doing, and specifically, to question why he seems to let people do such awful things. “Why do you make me see iniquity and why do you idly look at wrong?” When you are struggling with God’s world, go back to God’s Word. It might seem dark, but that’s not a reason to close your eyes. God provides answers. He tells us what to do, and when we are confused and even angry, that’s not a time to give up, that’s a time to work harder at knowing what He teaches and then, doing it.
4. Be sad. We know God wants us to rejoice always, but rejoicing always, doesn’t mean there aren’t times when you are also crying. Obviously, most of us, hate grieving, but just because we hate it, doesn’t mean there aren’t times when, it’s not good for us, and when it’s not right. God’s got a plan, it’s still on track, He can use evil men to accomplish His good purposes, but, man, this world right now is broken and if there aren’t times when you see that, and feel that, your eyes aren’t open.
5. But remember, brokenness isn’t all there is. There’s also Jesus. Fix your eyes on Him. For one thing, He’s absolutely perfect. But for another, He’s shown us God’s plan for a great reversal, when every tear will be wiped away, and every sinner judged, and this world, will be made what we all long for it to be, a world of love. And then he proved it was going to happen, when he rose from the dead.
6. In the meantime, try not to become hopeless. There are hypocrites, there are liars, there are people who are fake, there are people who are fooling others, but there also really is grace, and there are also people who God has radically transformed, and though they struggle with sin, sure, God is making them holy from the inside out. Don’t forget that. When you meet someone who is sinning in a particularly awful way, it’s easy to start thinking, he represents everyone. And while we all have the potential, sure, there really are people who have the Holy Spirit. For every person who turns from Jesus, remember the many others, who are faithfully loving Him with all their heart. For every person who commits adultery, try to remember the many others who are still romancing their spouse.
7. And finally, while you may not be able to understand God’s sovereignty or reconcile it with the evil you see, rejoice that He is. Because God’s sovereignty means that He is not only able to use good people and good events to accomplish His good purposes, He’s also completely able to use evil. We have proof of that. The most important one is the cross. And if you are a believer, you can know this, you can be sure of this, God will work all things together for His glory and for your good. Even that evil, that real evil, that ugly evil, that’s breaking your heart.