"But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:8. (Evil: worthless, depraved, Grk.)
Evil is most often looked upon as something that is reserved for wicked men and women, that it is consciously embraced by people through temptations and carnal lusts of the soul. However, the fact is, evil strikes at a much earlier age. It is a shroud that envelopes children from birth. They will generally lie, cheat and steal without feeling guilt. The mystery is that they often grow out of it and become honest, trustworthy adults. If we give serious thought to it, we will conclude that evil comes much more natural than goodness. We have been conditioned to believe that good is the norm for the world, and it has been contaminated with evil; but it seems to be the other way around.
Reality shows us that it begins to work in lives much sooner than good. A baby first cries due to the survival instinct when hungry, but soon develops into crying simply because of wants, not needs alone. We all have surely noticed that most babies, if not all, are totally selfish. When they want something they cry, and if they don't receive it right away they cry louder, and if it is not forthcoming, they may throw a screaming fit. All of this is without a shred of regard or compassion on behalf of their mommies and daddies, the very ones who gave them life and will sacrifice just about anything for their little selfish squall bags, as we used to call them. Sadly, more than a few young parents give into their self-centered demands, and it is not long before we see two and three-year-olds running the household, and all it takes is an ear piercing scream or big crocodile tears to get their way. I will prophesy to the mothers and dads who have relinquished the reins of the house to their children: If you do not break their selfish hearts early on, they will break yours later, especially after they become teenagers. They will have no more regard for your feelings than when they were six weeks old. All that has been programmed into them is to have their way, and for some reason, they believe they deserve it because they are so cute and are so dearly loved. We should add, my reference to breaking a child's heart is not breaking his or her spirit. It has to do with shaping their will with caring, loving, yet stern discipline. As a parent, you can damage your child's spirit quite easily by ridicule, disrespect, threats to withdraw love, and by verbal rejection. Anything that depreciates self-worth can be costly to the spirit.
While the spirit is fragile and must be treated gently, the will is made of steel. The will is one of the few intellectual components that arrives full strength at the moment of birth. It seems that a baby knows who he is before he can tell us. Babies seek control of everything around them, especially their parents, and this is no surprise to those parents of a strong-willed infant. They have walked the floor with him for hours in the dead of night while listening to this tiny dictator as he made his wants and wishes crystal clear.
Later on, some toddlers can become so angry that they hold their breath until losing consciousness. Anyone who has witnessed this magnitude of defiance was most likely shocked by its power. There is a case written in a 1977 issue of Psychology Today: A mother had a confrontation with her 3-year-old son over something that she wanted him to eat. He was so enraged by her insistence that he refused to eat or drink anything for two full days. He became weak and lethargic but steadfastly held his ground. The mother was worried and guilt-ridden, as might be expected. Finally, in desperation, the father looked the child in the eyes and convinced him that he was going to receive a well-deserved spanking if he didn't eat his dinner. With that maneuver, the contest was over. The toddler surrendered. He began to consume everything he could get his hands on and virtually emptied the refrigerator.
Now tell me, please, why have so few child development authorities not recognized this willful defiance? Why have they written so little about it? My guess is that the acknowledgment of childish imperfection would not fit neatly with the humanistic notion that little people are infused with sunshine and goodness and merely learn the meaning of selfishness and disobedience. To those who hold that pretty picture I can only say, take another look!
Again, a child's heart, his selfish will of steel must be broken and shaped in a fashion that will enable him to grow into a grateful, happy, prosperous individual. But please, take care to not destroy his soft, and often irreparable spirit.
Selfishness is a primary evil that the Bible has a lot to say about, and without being taught or conditioned this is the first of all the evils that human beings embrace and with no shame whatsoever. Therefore, rather than a good world being contaminated with evil, it is the other way around. It is an evil world that is being contaminated by good, and we praise God for that!
Moreover, evil is the exact opposite of life, and when it is grown can be displayed with uncaring compulsion and without any compunction of guilt whatsoever. The end result can, therefore, be unnecessary killing, that is, taking a life (murder) without the need of survival whether it is killing a corporal body or psychologically killing one's spirit. The fact is, the spirit of a horse, dog, or child can be broken by never touching a hair on its head. Training a child, a horse or other animals in the way they should go is not an evil act of breaking their spirits, but directing them toward a good, useful life. However, there is a very evil course of breaking them unto tormenting their spirits unto death.
For instance, let me relate a near fatal story with a sad, bitter/sweet ending. My sixteen year old brother, Bobby, had bought a high-spirited, sorrel thoroughbred colt with a white mark on its forehead resembling a bolt of lightning. He, therefore, named him Lightning. This was Bobby's first horse, and he loved him dearly. It was not long before there was a close bond between them that one would think could not be broken, but it proved to be otherwise.
Bobby had trained Lightning for riding by slowly getting him accustomed to the hackamore, which is similar to a bridle but without a bit in the mouth. Afterwards it was the saddle blanket and finally the saddle. With tender loving care, Lightning was trained, and all went well until one fateful afternoon when Bobby and I took this lightning streak to the pasture for a ride. It would be my first and last time upon his back. I could hardly wait for my turn, and after Big Brother felt that it was safe, he helped me on his back. All would have been fine; but I had eight to ten old keys on a chain and other jingly things hanging from the loop of my jeans. It was a fad with the younger boys in school at that time, and that little fad almost cost me my life, and it did cost the life, that is, the spirit of Lightning.
He only took a couple of steps with the jingling of the keys before Lightning lived up to his name. Being part quarter horse, like a bolt of greased lightning he exploded out of a cloud of dust . (In case you didn't know greased lightning is a lot faster than normal lightning. The trick is brushing the grease on the lightning bolt. Surely you believe this.)
Notwithstanding, the faster he ran the louder the keys jangled, and he could not escape what was an unidentified, terrifying sound just behind his ears. I was a good rider; but with no bit in his mouth, I did not have the strength to hold him back. Therefore, in a dead-run, Lightning headed for the end of the pasture. All I could do was to hang on; however, I soon saw that hanging on might come to an abrupt halt; for we were fast approaching a four-strand barbed wire fence at the end of the pasture, and the thundering hoofs gave no sign of slowing down. I had jumped logs and other minor obstacles with Mabel, the mother of Lightning, and other horses; but a four-stand barbed wired fence was very questionable. Nonetheless, I braced myself for the jump of my young life; but oh my God! It became very apparent that there would be no jump with which to be concerned--the terrified horse had not seen the fence, that is, not until the very last instant. The only thing he had time to do was to lock all fours as he slid down on his side and into the fence, pinning my left leg between it and the saddle.
By now, the poor animal was running on adrenalin filled panic. Unfettered fear was the driving force of his hoofs as they dug into the earth with the power of every muscle and sinew pushing himself from the ground, and this was with my left leg still pinned between the saddle and the strands of barbed wire. (I have no idea how I escaped with only a two inch gash just above my knee that needed stitches but were never received, which was common in those days. It pretty well tore up my fairly new Levis, though).
After we were finally up and free of the fence, I passed a golden opportunity. I failed to jump to safety before this streak of Lightning that I sat astride bolted back from where we came. At that end of the pasture was more than a fence. There was an old apple orchard. We shot past my horrified brother and into the trees. I was breaking off limbs with my eighty pound body as we plowed headlong through that foreboding labyrinth. We circled back and out of the orchard toward Bobby. His frantic waving of his arms at the terrified horse served only to drive him back into orchard. It was then that he screamed out, "JUMP"! I reacted immediately to his command, which most likely saved my life, or at least saved me from serious injuries; for I was still rolling in a cloud of dust when the panicked-stricken horse ran underneath a huge limb that tore off most of the saddle horn. Only God knows what the driving force of the limb would have done on a young boy's body traveling at thirty or so miles per hour while wedged tightly between the horn the back of the saddle.
I could hear the pounding hoofs as they made another turn toward the edge of the orchard. Without me and my jangling keys on board, he calmed to an exhausted, quivering halt near my protective brother, the one Lightning had always trusted. That which followed was what broke the spirit of a great horse in the making.
Bobby's young, inexperienced mind did not consider the circumstances that caused the runaway colt, nor did he think about the gravity of his impulsive actions. There was a twenty to twenty-five foot long rope that was tied to the hackamore just below and about three inches from the horse's chin, and he took hold of it about four feet from the trailing end. He then proceeded to use it as a whip as he lashed out at Lightning. The already terrified horse bolted, of course; but Bobby set his heels into the ground and with a tight grip on the rope. When the colt hit the end of it, he was jerked around. In anger and retribution for almost killing his little brother, Bobby repeated the whippings until he felt that the horse had paid a just price and had learned its lesson. Sad to say, very sad to say, the great spirit of that colt was broken that day, and he literally became a neurotic. He was never the same. From that time on he was fearful, unteachable, and void of trust for anyone again. Not even Bobby could ride him with ease due to him being so skittish. I suppose that he was always expecting a beating.
That summer day, my teenage brother ignorantly killed the horse he loved due to the love he had for his kid brother. And upon looking back, I can see that whether it is a young horse, a dog, a cat, or a child--their spirits are very delicate and pliable and can be shaped without much force; but when great pressures of evil are applied, they can be molded into irreversible patterns and unchangeable forms. The case of Lightning was tragic, to say the least, but it is much, much more tragic with children. Although youthful inexperience can be excused, whether in raising horses or children, the fruit thereof can be just as bitter as when pure evil strikes out for the shear pleasure of wounding and/or selfishly controlling lives.
Many today refuse to give evil or the devil a second thought, some to the point of denying that it exists. Some have said that it is nothing more than an illusion, or a dream, and when we awaken to reality, we will see that evil never existed. Such approaches, or non-approaches, may work for awhile; but this most usually does not last, and it certainly does not deal with a very real entity.
To say that evil does not exist is to say that good does not exist, but to the contrary. For example, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (Newton's Third Law of motion). You see, to everything there is an opposite; such as, night is opposite to day; black is opposite to white; hot is opposite to cold; strong is opposite to weak; fast is opposite to slow; up is opposite to down; left is opposite to right; light is opposite to darkness; and good is opposite to evil. Therefore, due to the law of physics as well as that of the spirit, for one thing to exist, there must be the other. For good and God to exist, of necessity, there must be the opposites; namely, evil and the devil regardless of where or what this illusive serpentine creature might be.
I have no qualms if you say the devil does not exist. For that matter, there are many things I am sure that everyone on our mailing list disagrees with me to some degree or another. However, if there is no evil or the devil, we would have to conclude that neither God nor good exists. In the realm of the world and in the heavens, since the beginning, there has always been opposites. It is simple as one plus one equaling two.
Although we can rise above evil, such as when Paul and Silas were singing and praising God while imprisoned, and then they were all set free when the gates opened by ministering angels, the evil of that prison was very real.
Eric Fromm, a man who fled the Jewish persecution under the Hitler regime, and who spent much of the rest of his life studying the evils of Naziism said something to this effect:
There are many evils, prisons and deaths to which some people subject others. They live to control others, to rob them of their individuality, to cultivate their dependency, to keep them from being able to think for themselves, to render idle their originality. In effect, these evil people gender the spirit of necrophilia, that is, absolute control of a (lifeless) body. It seems that their aim is to avoid unexpected inconveniences of life. They do this by transforming others into obedient automatons rather than encouraging their freedom of creative animation, therewith, robbing them of life, dignity, and their humanity. (rf. The Heart of Man: Its Genius for Good and Evil).
Evil is a spirit, whether it resides inwardly or outwardly, and it thrives on death. It seeks to destroy life and liveliness, even if at the cost of its own, while good is the exact opposite, which promotes life and liveliness. With goodness, it is better to give than to receive, thus, the Spirit of Jesus. There may be a few who are able to rise in the Spirit above the horrid spirit of evil in their husbands, wives, or others who dominate their lives, whose desire is to rob them of life and maintain total control, but that is a rarity. Most of those living, or dying, under such oppression either remain miserable prisoners until they breathe their last breath or they flee. And we wonder why marriages of many years and several children end in divorce. There is no wonder to it at all. It is often for survival. It is to escape a long prison sentence of death. It is an absolute necessity, and try as one may, refusing to recognize such evil does not make it go away or cease to exist.
Some might say that the only reason a person can divorce is in the case of adultery, and the only way a woman can remarry is when her husband is dead. Do you think necromancy is not adultery? If an evil man destroys the soul of his wife, she is dead. She has no control of her body. She is dead to self-expression. He is in total, diabolic control; therefore, his act upon her is adulterous necromancy. Moreover, she is dead. There is no liveliness left in her. She is dead to herself. Her husband is dead to her. There is no liveliness to their relationship. There is no holy union. Their marriage is dead! She is dead! He is dead to her! She is, therefore, free to rise again to life and marry another. You may not agree, which is alright with me; but that is my perception of it.
Evil has been with us since the first temptation, and by and large it is still a mystery. Yet, seldom considered, good is just as mysterious, and one of the greatest of its mysteries is totally contrary to the spirit of the world, especially of the world of evil. It is the mystery of unreserved giving. It willingly sacrifices itself that others can have life. Rather than taking lives, it gives of itself that all may live. This, of course, was first seen, and as the perfect prototype in the life of Jesus.
We should keep in mind and not interchange the good in man with the good of God. There is a vast difference. Eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil produces death, while eating from the Tree of Life will produce the good of God unto life. However, when considering only the tree with both fruits, if we are given the choice, most certainly, normal people will choose the fruit of human good over human evil.
Goodness is a strange thing when we consider the world where evil comes so natural, and wherein lies entropy--the second law of thermodynamics; which is, "The downward spiral of all things, living as well as inanimate, toward perpetual decay and randomness." Entropy describes a fact that takes place everywhere in the universe. It has a grip on the smallest atom to the greatest galaxy. Until an opposing force is introduced, it has an influence upon and control of all things. Put simply, entropy is the law of sin and death. It is void of the righteousness of God. But we praise Him; for with His righteous Son, the opposite law of the Spirit of Life in Him cannot and will not allow entropy to exist forever. This, of course, is one reason there is good in the world. It counteracts the evil that awards the world with so much pain, sorrow, suffering, and death. Margit once said, love is the very initiation and force that counteracts entropy. It is love that keeps the law of entropy from destroying a family. Love counteracts the natural law of sin and death. Love builds and makes strong the family, and likewise with God and the universe. His love through Jesus Christ is that which will preserve and make it all whole.
Ray Prinzing wrote in his October 31 devotional: "The Greek word used in James 1:17 for 'turning' is 'trope.' When prefixed with the Greek word 'en' or IN, it gives us our word 'entropy.' Entropy is a mathematical factor which is a measure of the unavailable energy in a thermodynamic system. Entropy - INTURNING, bespeaks of a selfish retaining that will not release its energy for use. Having no entropy is to have NO SELFISHNESS, it speaks of total availability, total spendability. 'He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.' (Romans 8:31-32). There is no entropy in God, He does not turn inward and selfishly retain unto Himself. Rather He 'freely gives us all things.' There are no shadows in His love, or in His giving. At no time does He turn away from His creation, to be centered upon His own interests, while we are left waiting out in the cold shadows."
Jesus, the opposer of entropy, has never been an accepted factor in the world of evil. From the beginning, good has been such a threat to the universal kingdom of death that it has not at any time been a welcomed guest. The opposing force has been so great that it is a wonder that the mystery of good is found anywhere in the world where the evil of death has had its grip for so long upon every molecule of all created things. Even star systems have not escaped the law of entropy, much less the delicate cells and souls of mankind.
But praise God! The one who represents Life came to conqueror all evil, all pain, all sorrow, all suffering, and all death. Jesus came to override the law of entropy and make men free, and this will He do, else He will fail in His mission.
His conquering, of course, has never been the type that controls people like robotic puppets. He has always wanted them to be free in the joy of His life. He was a man who enjoyed such life. He enjoyed weddings and wine, fine oils and good companionship, even those with the smell of fish upon their garments. He had friends who were harlots and tax collectors, the most despised of all people. Jesus has much to offer; but being the man that He was, allowed Himself to be killed, to suffer the ultimate humiliation of hanging naked for all to see. But unlike most, He was not concerned about the length of His life as He was with the quality. Hopefully, it is the same with us.
Jesus was so overtaken with life that He said: "Let the dead bury the dead." Matthew 8:22. While concerning His enemy, the father of lies, He was even more forthwith, saying that "He was a murderer from the beginning." John 8:44.
The religious world of His day, and also of this day, had a problem with Jesus. They did not know what to do with this life-giver. All they knew was their father, the devil, His counter part, i.e., the life-taker. In their ultra legalism, unlike Jesus, they frowned upon love, warmth, light and laughter. Their religious spirit hated the spontaneity and joy of life. They were strangers to human caring and the service to all men. They were evil, they were self-serving, they were self-consumed by power, they were self-orientated with pride. They were selfish, selfishly evil, par excellence!
There are some today who still insist on ignoring the fact of evil rather than standing up to its ugly face and destroying it once and for all. Frankly, if we do not know the name and nature of our enemy, if we cannot identify it, if we do not know how it works--victory will never truly be known, and the insidious disease will continue to work inwardly like cancer or leprosy until the whole body is compromised and consumed.
The danger of ignoring evil, or declaring that it does not exist, is no different than ignoring or saying that a cancerous tumor in one's body does not exist, or to say that there is nothing wrong with the insane or a schizophrenic. We happen to know such a woman who was under the influence of alcohol recently who stabbed her own fifty year old son while he lay sleeping, resulting in quite a number of stitches but not life-threatening. Not only she, but everyone else ignored her symptoms unto almost deadly consequences. Some of our loved ones ignored other symptoms which did in fact cost their lives:
A very dear friend ignored the symptoms of colon cancer and died a very painful, lingering death. One of my double cousins died of prostate cancer that had spread because he ignored the symptoms. And my very dear aunt, the eldest sister of my mother, died of ovarian cancer because she likewise ignored the symptoms. Neither of the three gained victory over the cancer by ignoring it. Rather than conquering the enemy, it gained victory over its ill informed or ill equipped victims, and without a hint of mercy took them all. Brethren, when we ignore the enemy or view sin, sickness, and death as an illusion, we will surely surrender to its merciless grip. So DON'T do it!
Therefore, my dear, dear friends, please do not ignore evil, don't turn a blind eye to it, especially that of spiritual evil and the human evil of bad men. Do not say that such does not exist; for we do not want you to be subtly consumed by its horrid spirit. We want you to live. We want you to live life and to live it more abundantly. We want you to overcome and live it to the maximum in Jesus Christ! We want you to know that evil is real, and when its mystery is revealed you will be emboldened. You will be enabled to put it underfoot! It is then that it will be non existent! Will this not be wonderful when all the deadly poison of all evil is nullified and rendered of no effect? Yes! Praise God!
Elwin R. Roach
To be placed on our mailing list to receive our studies in booklet format, write to: