The Truth will set you Free
Hugh MacKenzie FAITH Magazine January – February 2011
THE CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO ENCOUNTERING EVIL
Our current editorial reflects upon the reality of evil, as did the March 2010 instalment of this column. Below we offer a meditation upon the Christian response to evil.
When we hear of terrible crimes and atrocities, we may be tempted to cry out for God's judgment on the perpetrators. We are outraged at the enormity of the wrong. But we should stop and think when we do this. If we call God's justice down upon the world, we need to be very confident that we can stand with our own head high before the Almighty. Justice does not have favourites. Hopefully we have not committed the grosser sins that get reported in the papers. But our lack of charity, our petty injustices, selfish greed and angry words are capable of destroying other lives as much as any terrorist bomb. None of us is truly innocent.
Jesus is the only innocent man, and his mother is the only sinless woman. If anyone has a right to condemn this world it is Jesus. If anyone could legitimately hate humanity for what was done to her son, it is Mary. But Jesus said explicitly: "I have not come to condemn the world" but to redeem it. He prayed constantly for sinners, and the greater the depths to which an individual sinks, the more urgent and compelling is his love for them. Also Mary's heart follows where the heart of Jesus leads, which is why she stood faithfully at the foot of the cross, praying for us all. None of us deserve to be loved like this. But we are.
When he went to the cross, Jesus refused to give up on his people. He carried on loving despite the brutal rejection. Like a parent grieving for a wicked child, he committed himself to make up for the bad things we have all done, no matter what the personal cost. And the cost was high. It is like restoring order and sanity to a corrupted society after a terrible tyrant has been overthrown, or bringing a heroin addict back from the brink of self destruction. But these are only comparisons. We can see the outer sufferings of Christ, only he knows the true spiritual cost.
On Calvary he not only makes up for the selfishness of others with his selfless love, he also apologises to his Father for the infinite offence which sin gives to Divine Goodness. It is not that the Father demands the cruel sufferings of Jesus as some kind of payment for forgiveness. Rather God's justice means that he cannot simply ignore the reality of sin. Damage has been done to his creation which must be put right. The fabric of goodness which he wove into all things has been torn, so it no longer reflects his own perfect Being. This terrible gap which has been opened up between the Creator and his creatures must be bridged. God the Son was always destined to be the living link between God and man through his incarnation. Now he becomes "humbler yet" and makes himself into thatheavenly bridge. He reconciles us to God is his own body and blood.