Avoiding Approval of Evil
Evil demands your approval and it does not rest until it finds your level of complacency. It utterly ignores your disavowals of members of the evil genus and continues to press for approval at the species level. Evil doesn’t mind your hatred of categories as long as you make allowances for instances; “I know you’re against abortion, but surely not in cases of rape, right?”
Evil loves to empty words of their meaning. Evil keeps changing the subject. Evil constantly blurs the lines. Evil will quickly stoop to deception, as long as it can get you to approve.
Evil tries to gain your approval by distraction; “I know you hate lust, but he’s just reading it for the articles. He’s watching it for the story, not for that one scene he keeps rewinding to.”
Evil seeks approval through sentiment; “Oh, that’s just Uncle Clyde. He tells those jokes after a few drinks, but we all love him anyway!” “Maybe she’s a bit of a gossip, but she means well. She’d be so hurt if you said anything!”
Evil goes for approval by trivializing; “It’s just a word! Nobody thinks it means that anymore!” “It’s not like shoplifting a physical disc, it’s just ones and zeros!”
Evil in All It’s Forms
The approval evil wants comes in many forms. Initially, it tries for an outright embrace of evil as good, which doesn’t tend get much mileage with followers of Jesus. (Although the fact that it gets any is sobering.) “Greed is good!” “It’ll spice up your marriage.”
If evil can’t get a full embrace, it’ll settle for the side-hug of participation. You weren’t the one marrying an unbeliever/improperly divorced person/member of the same sex; you were just a bridesmaid. You didn’t approve when they suggested a “Game of Thrones” marathon, but you stayed to watch anyway.
But if you won’t participate yourself, evil at least wants a celebratory high-five. “I’m happy being male, but isn’t she courageous for not being bound by society’s repressive ideas about gender?” “I’m not saying that everyone with special needs or terminal illnesses should kill themselves, but don’t you agree that he should be able to die with dignity?”
If you’re enough of a bigot and a prude to have made it this far without offering at least a little approval, then the next best thing is for you to shut up. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Certainly don’t say that these behaviors are sinful. Certainly don’t try to persuade others not to do these things. “Keep your laws off my body!” As long as you don’t speak out against it, evil claims you as someone who has acknowledged its legitimacy by your silent approval.
Evil hates Ephesians 5:3: “Sexual immorality and impurity and all covetousness must not even be named among you.” Ephesians 5:6 frustrates evil’s sneak attacks: “Let no one deceive you with empty words.” Ephesians 5:7 marches right down the line: “Do not become partners with them.” Ephesians 5:11 puts evil to flight: “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead, expose them.”
Followers of Jesus are called to a comprehensive disapproval of evil. You must do more than simply refuse to embrace it. You cannot participate in it, celebrate it, or even be silent in the face of it. The only way to get evil to stop pestering you for approval is to shine the light of truth directly in its eyes and call it what it is.