Evil Lies in the Hands of the Doer
By John W. Milor
††††††††††† Over the years, Iíve watched a number of movies where a supposed good guy, an average person, is forced into a difficult decision. Some bad guy engineers a situation to force the good guy to do something evil. In the extreme cases, one or more hostages are usually at stake, and the bad guy states that if the good guy doesnít do as he says, the hostages will be killed off one by one.
The good guy always tries to perform some balancing act, making one concession after another, usually trying to stall for time and figure a way out of the mess.
But what if thereís no way out?
I donít think I would make for such an exciting movie if I were chosen as the good guy. While I canít pretend to understand the kind of stress such a predicament would create, I can, in principle, apply a little logic to assist in the decision making process, for anyone stuck in such a situation. ďDo what youíre going to do,Ē I would say with a clear conscience, ďbecause I refuse to do what you want me to do. End of story.Ē
First of all, if a bad guy is a bad guy, can he be trusted?
Letís see, the bad guyís primary agenda is evil. Furthermore, what heís already done, thatís evil too. Kidnapping is a Felony offence, and so is murder. Lastly, attempting to force an innocent third party to commit a crime is just as evil as committing the crime oneís self. So, the answer to the above question should be easy to answer. Bad guys can resolutely NOT be trusted.
Since bad guys canít be trusted, they canít be expected to abide by whatever terms they dictate in any kind of agreement. In short, the hostages are at their mercy, regardless of whether a good guy complies with their objectives or not, and in most cases, those hostages, as painful as it might be to admit, are as good as dead, at least in the physical sense, unless God deems otherwise. Oneís best option is to appeal to God in such a situation, rather than try to bargain with a criminal. After all, Jesus holds the keys to life and death, and nothing goes by Him unnoticed. Sometimes we lose sight of this, because God allows a great deal of evil to transpire at least for a season, but He is the ultimate judge, and in the end, His judgments will be revealed as true and just for all.
Secondly, if a good guy is truly a good guy, he should understand that the true person at fault, if someone is murdered, is the one doing the murdering. Forget about any of the hogwash a criminal might try to say to manipulate the good guy into believing that itís his fault a murder is being committed. The good guy is not the one pulling the trigger, so the good guy is innocent.
The only reason Iíve pondered this dilemma in depth, is because many Christians around the world are faced with a version of it every day. At gun point, and with family member lives at stake, Christians are asked to recant their faith. Recanting oneís faith is an extremely reprehensible act that bears with it spiritual scars, and if itís done with any degree of conviction, oneís spiritual death is at stake. Thatís a bad thing. Now I honestly donít think Christians who recant their faith under such duress are actually damned to hell, so long as their faith is intact in their hearts. But I do think that they canít honestly call themselves disciples until theyíre ready to die for Christ. That title has a price, and for those that fail to earn it when the moment of truth arrives, they have to live with spiritual scars. Simply read about the apostle Peterís weeping in the Gospels after he denied Jesus three times as Jesus prophesied, to see this reality.
In countries all around the world, failure to comply with forced conversions commonly results in the torture and death of cherished loved ones. In Jesus Freaks: DC Talk and the Voice of the MartyrsóStories of Those Who Stood For Jesus, the Ultimate Jesus Freaks, numerous stories are documented where Christians this day and age, are stuck in dire circumstances. One woman, for example, rejected Christ to save her daughterís life. A few hours later, after the woman and her daughter had been released from prison and were being driven back to their village, the womanís daughter was suddenly filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. She was initially filled with fear over what was going to happen to them, but God supernaturally gave her the gift of martyrdom; a peace about surrendering her entire life to God. The young girl begged her mother to recant her recanting of Jesus. The mother did as her daughter asked her to do, and shortly thereafter, both were killed for it.
It may seem harsh, but on the scale of eternity, who was the real winner? Both mother and daughter went to heaven, basking in the fathomless love and joy of God and His kingdom, and their murderers were left with a testimony etched into their minds that they had to live with for the rest of their lives. Perhaps one or more of them were saved because of that testimony.
While it is understandable why the woman initially rejected Christ to save her daughterís life, and Iím certain she was forgiven for doing so, many people might not understand her willingness to change her mind, sacrificing even her own daughterís life over her love for Jesus. Keeping this story in mind, consider Jesusí words in Luke 14:26.
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Taken out of context, one might suggest that Jesus was commanding people to hate their fathers, mothers, wives, children, and siblings, in order to be His disciples. This canít be the case, however, because Jesus also said in Matthew 5:44 and elsewhere that we must love to the extreme, not only those who we commonly love, namely our relatives, but even our enemies! What He obviously meant, therefore, was that to be His disciples, we must love Him so much, that it could easily be misunderstood as hating everyone and everything else in comparison. The woman and her daughter in the story above capitulates the discipleship that Jesus was talking about. A willingness to lay everything on the line, even the lives of loved ones, for the sake of saving souls from hell. After all, for Christians to die isnít actually that bad from the eternal perspective, because they simply go to heaven. For unsaved people to die, however, is a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude; eternal damnation in the unquenchable fires of hell.
People speak of hell all the time in an abstract sense, but for those that take a moment to ponder a place of unimaginable quantities of pain of all types, and to never have any relief whatsoever from that pain, for all eternity, itís beyond sobering. One time a few years back, I actually burned myself with a lighter for a few seconds, and meditated about what it would be like, having that pain for longer periods of time. I wanted to take the concept of hell out of the abstract, so I burned myself several times with a lighter, and each time I finished, I thought more about hell. By the end of my sadomasochistic experiment, I was chilled to the core thinking about hell. Perhaps I was strange for doing so, but that experiment made me never want anyone to go there, no matter how many sins they accumulated. Hell is beyond comprehension as to how bad it really is, and it is for this reason that God is willing to go through such great lengths, and ask us to make such weighty sacrifices, in order to ensure that as few people as possible end up going there. Many physical lives of saved Christians are well worth the price of even one soul being saved from eternal hell fire.
The Bible states that in the End Times, during the reign of the Antichrist, Christians will be slaughtered without mercy, even more so than they are now. Most likely the majority of them will have to sacrifice more than their own lives for the sake of Christ. I have written this article for those martyrs in our future. I believe that all of them can, in good conscience, completely, unequivocally, and whole heartedly, reject any compromise of their faith, when an evil satanically empowered person or group of people try to force them to reject Christ or face dire consequences.
Evil lies in the hands of the doer, and thatís that.
And this basic conclusion can have a very wide and diverse application. The sons and daughters of God must never be deceived into believing that committing evil acts of any kind can be justified for the accomplishment of a greater good. If Satan canít deceive us outright, he will at least try to deceive us in part, and get us to believe that in some cases, the ends justify the means. This is deception.
To God, the means His plan is accomplished is just as important as the end result. Thatís why Jesus went to the cross, despite Jesusí personal pleas to His Father to avoid it if possible. While it is true that God is capable of taking peopleís acts intended for evil and turning them into a good outcome, as He did with the cross, under no circumstance is that EVER to be misconstrued as God endorsing those evil acts.
Again I reiterate, evil lies in the hands of the doer. Letís all keep it that way.