Friday, August 14, 2009

Daily Digest #340

[Jesus] was wounded for our transgressions, . . . and by His stripes we are healed. —Isaiah 53:5

I found a wonderful article written by Rick Warren, answering the question, "Why does God allow evil to happen?" Read below:

Rick Warren offers answers to readers' everyday concerns about revenge, resentment, and much more.


Why does God allow evil to happen?


In the seven years since 9/11, the reality of evil has intruded itself into our lives in ways we would not have guessed a decade ago. Yet evil has always been with us and it begs the question: Why does God allow evil to happen? If God is so great and so good, why does he allow human beings to hurt each other?

The answer lies in both our greatest blessing and our worst curse:
our capacity to make choices. Made in God's image, we have been given a free will—the freedom to decide how we will act and the ability to make moral choices. This gift of freedom is also the source of so much pain in our world. People often make self-centered and evil choices. Whenever that happens, people get hurt.

Sin is ultimately selfishness. I want to do what I want, not what God tells me to do. Unfortunately, sin always hurts others, not just ourselves.

God could have eliminated all evil from our world by simply removing our ability to choose it. But God doesn't want us to be puppets. He wants our love to be genuine. That can’t be if there is no other option.

The truth is,
we all choose between good and evil every day. You and I are not evil, but we do harm and hurt others with our selfish decisions and actions.

When bad things happen, you may hear some misguided minds say, "This must have been God's will." Nonsense! In a world of free choices, God's will is rarely done! Don't blame God—blame people who ignored what God has told us to do: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

In heaven, God's will is done perfectly. But this is earth, a fallen, imperfect place. We must choose to do God's will every day. This is why Jesus told us to pray, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."

The Bible explains the root of evil: "This is the crisis we're in: God's light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness ... because they were not really interested in pleasing God" (John 3:19 MSG). We're far more interested in pleasing ourselves.

In a crisis we cry out for a connection with our Creator. This is a deep-seated, universal urge. The first words uttered by millions on 9/11 were, "Oh God!"

How will you choose to handle the question of evil?
You were made for a relationship with God, but he waits for you to choose Him. Settling this issue in your heart can bring great personal peace in the days ahead—but it's your choice.

For this, let us pray. Lord, thank You for wanting to have a relationship with us, no matter how flawed we are. Thank You for the gift of choice, for allowing us to grow so that we may come back to You willingly and trustfully. Lord, please forgive us for moments when we choose our own will for our selfish desires. We ask for strength and wisdom so we may keep holding on to You through our ups and downs, until the time when we are finally as perfect as Your Son, Jesus Christ. We ask these in Jesus' name. Amen.

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