Resident Evil

Erik Cooper —  July 15, 2009 — 3 Comments

Evil isn’t a horror flick.  But when most of us hear the word evil, we naturally think of Freddy, Jason, Halloween, Hitler, or other grotesquely wicked expressions.  What is evil?  The Bible isn’t a dictionary, cleanly spelling out tight and concise definitions for our informational consumption.  But if we look at the whole of Scripture we get a picture of what evil is truly all about (and it may hit a little closer to home than you think).


I’d like to offer my own working definition for your thoughtful analysis:

Evil is simply satisfying self at the detriment of others.

At it’s worst, evil expresses itself in violence, murder, oppression, injustice, and other vile outflows.  It’s easy to see in fascist warlords, death-row inmates, and global genocide.  But what about the husband who lies to his wife about working late so he can hang out with his buddies at the local pub?  The business woman who quietly threatens her peers in order to manipulate her way into a promotion?  Even the spiritual leader who tarnishes the reputation of others to keep from having his own failures exposed?  Evil?  Jesus said it originates in the heart, not in the act. (Matthew 5)

It starts with simple, seemingly innocent, yet foolish decisions born out of temptation, fear, or insecurity.  Then left unchecked, our consciences become seared until inflicting pain or even destroying others becomes easy, even justified, all in the name of pleasing or protecting self.  That, my friends, is evil.  The scary thing?  The potential resides in each and every one of us, not just communist dictators.

The seeds of evil rise from dormancy when I pursue a life that revolves around me.  When I refuse to face my junk, my insecurities, my baggage, my self-absorption.  When I avoid accountability and vulnerability to preserve power or position, the slippery slope has begun.  The remedy?  Love.

While evil is willing to hurt or destroy anything and anyone to protect or promote itself, love is just the opposite.  Love willfully sacrifices itself  for the benefit of others, and no One lived that definition better than Jesus Himself.  He’s got the nail scars to prove it.  And He can bring that love to life inside each and everyone of us if we’ll just let Him.

So the question for you and me is this:  have we started our own self-aborbed journey towards evil?  Deal with it now or you may find yourself starring in your own horror flick, with dead bodies all around you to prove it.

3 responses to Resident Evil

  1. Melissa Saulnier July 15, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Great stuff. So true

  2. Ouch.. This one stings. It’s always so easy to point out the obvious evils in the world but, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when one starts to realize how small the seeds of that greater evil are and how they inherently reside in each of us. The battle is a lot closer to home, indeed.

  3. Great analysis and challenge, Erik. As I ponder your thoughts, I wonder if love is really the remedy? Or, is love the result of the remedy? Evil is rooted is selfishness or misapplied self love. Might that make the remedy selflessness which in turn leads us to a love directed instead toward others?

    Consider this from Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
    “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”


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