Evil is defined as the absence or extreme opposite of good, recognized as something very harmful and destructive. Who or what do you visualize when you think of evil? We often see a red hot devilish image or the face of a mischievous person.
On the other hand, the actions of evil are seen in various ways: the abuse of a child or a spouse, divisive slander, the rule of dictators, or in mindless mobs intent on destruction. All of these actions and many more are evil expressions of men and women.
To fully understand the force behind evil, we must recognize what motivates its expressions. When we realize what is driving evil activity, we can more effectively counter its destructive ways with the good and righteous. So, how do we deal with the ideology behind evil?
What does ideology have to do with evil? Ideology is defined as a mindset, a system of thought that promotes a specific line of reasoning. Scripture tells us the original idea to contrast God’s purpose in our lives, began in the Garden of Eden: “For as you partake of it your eyes will be opened and you will ‘be like God’, knowing good and evil.” (a) [see end notes for Scriptures]
The idea was to ignore God and act as though you are God. The thought appeared as “good…delightful…and desirable.” (b) The Apostle Paul clarified the deception as “minds…led astray from the simplicity and purity…of Christ (God’s anointing presence).” (c)
Yes, God gives us a responsibility to raise children and care for their welfare, even to manage the land and care for animals. However, the implanted desire to be in control apart from God’s guidance produces ‘extremes’ that defile us and those we influence.
We have noted before how the only appearance of power in cold and dark is its ability to remain out of heat and light. This is also true for the damaging ideas that motivate us. When we refuse to ponder or accept enlightening thoughts, we remain captivated by our darkened perceptions.
The power behind evil activity is the mistaken ideology accepted in the Garden. It is illustrated by the forces of positive and negative. Each has a source that produces pull and push activity. Good thoughts are sources of good and righteous words and actions. On the flip side, the bad ideas and beliefs we accept can be “as spiritual powers and forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” of our mind. (d) The bad thoughts tend to turn us toward destructive words and actions.
When we refuse to ponder or accept enlightening thoughts, we remain captivated by our dark perceptions.
“The Ideology of Control”
As Adam and Eve accepted the deception and turned from God, they lost their sense of intimacy with Him and His blessings on their work. (e) When their firstborn son Cain became angry, he followed suit and ignored God’s redeeming instruction and “did it my way.” (f) The flood of Noah’s day came because God saw “The wickedness of man… the thoughts of his heart was only evil.” (g) The bad idea accepted in the Garden became the ideology that has historically produced most of our ills.
This ideology was also what caused Judas to betray Jesus. Believers of that day looked for a Messiah to save them from Roman overlords. (h) Judas knew Jesus was the Messiah and reasoned, if death was threatened, Jesus would become militaristic and take control. When it did not happen, Judas recognized his thoughts were wrong and remorse resulted in his death. (i)
The “ideology of control” inspires much of today’s governmental politics, business monopolies, news and social media. People assume they can and should be in charge then we suffer the ill side effects. These faces of evil are not a coordinated conspiracy; they just ascribe to the same ideology.
The proverb, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” means that when people appear to have total power as overlords, it tends to corrupt them. As pride settles in, it becomes a destructive force that abuses areas of control in order to maintain their position or to gain more power.
The bad idea accepted in the Garden became the ideology that has historically produced ill effects.
The saving deliverance Jesus brings to us works from the inside out, by changing minds and hearts. (j) God does not force his will on anyone nor does His kingdom reign come because of force. (k) His insightful reign is for who-so-ever will accept a changed mind and become more responsive to His guiding presence.
God desires to lead and guide us as a loving father through all of our trying times so our response to evil is motivated by the forces of positive, good, and righteous. We are called to be sub-lights of God Light that draw people into a more intimate relationship with Him. We do this by shining light into their perceptions and actions.
It is our words and deeds that glorify or defy God and His ways. We are encouraged to entertain, accept, and “stand firm…with truth…righteousness…good news…peace…faith…salvation…and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” (m)
So, how do we deal with the ideology behind evil? We overcome it by shining light into dark and warmth into cold. “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.” (n) “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (o) The godly good is a positive and powerful force that pulls and draws away from the negativity of evil.
The saving deliverance Jesus brings to us works from the inside out, by changing minds and hearts.
a) Genesis 3:5; b) Genesis 3:6; c) 2 Corinthians 11:3; d) Ephesians 6:12; e) Genesis 2:15; 3:23-24; f) Genesis 4:5-7; g) Genesis 6:5; h) Luke 17:20; 19:11; i) John 14:22; Matthew 27; 3-5; j) Romans 12:3; Philippians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; k) Luke 17:20-21; m) Ephesians 13-17; n) 1 Thessalonians 5:15; o) Romans 12:21