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I am like that small child that just always has to know “why.” Yes but, why? I am really grateful God so patiently and so faithfully answers the vast majority of my “whys.” He really does, too. I can count on one hand the number of times He has said something like, you can’t know that, not yet. Or, I can’t answer that because you’re asking the wrong question.

The hardest answer to a “why” for me was actually, “because they believe it is acceptable and they think they can get away with it.” I’m a fixer, a problem solver, a preventer of issues, so an answer like that is just so unsatisfactory. What do you mean, they just choose to do it??

The idea that people can deliberately choose to do evil just doesn’t compute in my brain…..or in my heart. I assume they must be mentally ill, out of their mind, traumatized, on drugs, had a bad childhood, blind to their own behavior, don’t know any better, whatever.

Sometimes people accuse me of being judgmental but the truth is I can actually spin excuses and justifications on your behalf that you haven’t even thought of yet. True story. I probably should have gone into law and become a public defender.

I don’t know who needs to hear my words today, but people do bad things because they “believe it is acceptable and they think they can get away with it.” It really is that simple. We let evil into our heart, we allow it to remain there unchecked, and we do not rule over it.

That’s a really unsatisfactory, frustrating answer, and so I understand why so many refuse to accept it.

Most of the world, and to some extent even me, want to believe people are just basically good. So when they aren’t good, we think something must be broken, something has gone wrong. Evil is perceived as a complete aberration, almost an accident or a weird fluke. It doesn’t even occur to us that evil might be a feature within humans, and not a bug.

In the Bible, in the tale of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, it says, “.. sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Evil is not preventable in the sense that we can just pass laws against it or write policies that will stop it or elect the right people to office. You can’t legislate evil away. You also can’t love it enough to heal it and make it whole. Jesus sure can, but not us as individuals. That’s a savior complex, a romantic notion, and while loving people can be very healing, the truth is that they themselves will still have to learn how to rule over it.

Not every one is as jaded as I am, nor should they be, but something that really helps one to cope with the world’s evil is an entire paradigm shift. Instead of asking “why” every time you hear of the latest unmentionable horror going down, try being surprised by the goodness of people, try perceiving that one as the aberration. Look at people with wonder and curiosity when they do the right thing. After a while you’ll learn to go out and look for more evidence, not evidence that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket, but evidence that so many are choosing to beat the odds.