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How to Fight Evil

From Leonard Buhler

December 10, 2012

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

How often do you encounter evil?  When you read Paul’s words to Timothy, you might think they don’t apply all that well to you.  ‘Evil’ and ‘opponents’ are words you expect to hear in an action movie, not in your everyday life.

The longer I’m a leader, the more I’m aware that I actually encounter evil all the time.  I engage with enemies constantly.  Sometimes the evil and the enemies are obvious:  someone spreading lies about you, or trying to cheat you, or being destructive and divisive.  This is evil you can see coming.  You can call it what it is.

But there’s also evil that flies under the radar.  It’s the evil that’s a part of all of us, left over from the Fall.  Most of us aren’t that comfortable with naming it ‘evil,’ or even ‘sin.’  But it’s there.  And like it or not, call it ‘evil’ or being ‘only human,’ it affects the people around us.  If a member of my staff team walks into my office with a lousy attitude, I’m encountering evil.  If you’re working with someone who digs in her heels and refuses to listen, you’re encountering evil.   The truth is we all have areas in our lives that are not surrendered to Jesus.  As people are exposed to these areas, they experience the consequences of our lack of repentance.

You can be a leader who fights evil.  In 2 Timothy 2:24-26, the apostle Paul gives an incredible snapshot of a true leader’s response to evil.  The best way is not to fight it head on, not to debate or lecture or threaten.  Godly leaders are relentlessly kind.  They teach, yes.  They correct when necessary.  But they are gentle and patient with people’s sin.  They leave God room to work.  When I sin, this is the way I need to be treated.  I want those who lead me to give me the time to “escape from the snare of the devil” and come to my senses.

Make no mistake.  This kind of leadership can be difficult.  How do you respond with gentleness, kindness, and patience when it’s within your rights to hand out criticism and penalties?  It helps to stay close to the cross.  When I make it a discipline to remember how much evil Jesus has forgiven me, I find it far easier to extend that grace to others.  It also helps to try it.  Not once have I regretted being gentle and patient instead of the opposite.  I doubt you will either.


16 Responses to “How to Fight Evil”

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh ok, that will be great, thanks.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yea, when I reply via email it doesn’t work, but you can move it to a private mail

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Are you saying your email isn’t working or that when you try to use the Mentor Request Form your email doesn’t work? Would you allow me to try and move this conversation into a private mentoring email using the contact info you have used here?

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks Jamie. I have a problem though. I cant send a message via email, it fails to go through, I can only comment here on the site..?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    No problem Anonymous, make sure you use the same contact information that you have been using here so your message will get to me.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey guys, thkans again for replying. I will try to do what is right but I guess not everything comes that easy. Chris, believe me,the police here are like 60% criminals who don’t want to be watched by the police. They can’t protect us..

    And Jamie, I’ll fill in the mentor request, but if it’s alright with you I can also talk to you, because you already know what I’m struggling with.

  • Chris says:

    anonymous….sorry to hear you are struggling…the first thing is for you to secure your own personal salvation through faith in christ. you can find out how to do that on knowingjesuspersonally.com or by clicking talk to a mentor above. once you do, then jesus will lead you in your calling in life and how to help others. certainly, if we perceive another person is in danger, we can and should notify the pólice since romans 13 says God has established them to maintain order and peace. i pray you receive jesus into your heart today. that is all he asks of you for your own salvation. as you do, then you can share jesus with others so they can be saved through him too. blessings!

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry if some of the replies have came through doubled,I had a bit of trouble replying.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Anonymous, do you think God is unable to change the criminal heart? The history of the Christian Church is full of stories of men and women who believed in the transforming power of the Gospel so strongly that they left the comfort of their own surroundings and entered into the culture of sinners, at great sacrifice to themselves, in order to extend the love of Jesus to those who lived an evil life. Men like David Wilkerson who moved into New York city to reach out to gang members with the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Women like Elizabeth Elliot who went and lived with tribe who had killed her husband and his 4 companions in Ecuador.

    Perhaps Jesus is calling you to a mission in the lives of people in your area who are committing murder and taking advantage of others. Rather than looking at their deaths as the only solution, how much better that Jesus would transform those people and they become witnesses of His great love and grace! That would be a far better reflection of Jesus, who sacrificed Himself to save those who were His enemies.

    If you would like to talk with a mentor about these things you can fill in the Mentor Request Form and it will be sent to the mentor who is best suited to address the questions you have. If you would like, I can have it delivered to my inbox and we can have this conversation in a more private setting.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey Jamie, thanks for replying and also for the prayer. You see, the thing is that there isn’t actually anyone who is trying to kill me.. yet. The problem I have is that I try to be fair, even though it’s difficult. Like I said, someone murders alot and then maybe when he has had enough of his ways and becomes a disciple of God and spreads his word. I know his soul may be saved but what about the other’s who he has killed. I know you sent me a link for the mentors but I want to know, if I fill in the stuff, does it go to a specific person or a group which then decides who to take..?

    Also,thanks for your reply Lookingup. Yea, I think I’m kanda fearing what could happen now or in the future, crimes and other things are increasing and I fear that what could happen to the ones I care about. The thing is, like I said to Jamie, I want to stop people from doing again what they did before another person gets hurt. I know it sounds kinda unfair if you think about what I want to do to stop them, but jail doesnt work. They go in, 10% comes out as a different man, the rest do what they did before. I know there are other options besides death, but will ir really stop them. And the authorities here does Nothing, believe me. If there is a crime being committed, it takes the police literially about the max. 1h to get there. Also,self defence isnt legal, whoever dies dies and whoever kills goes to jail.

    Also one thing that I do want to know is,and I know this may sound wrong and that I shouldnt ask this, but do you think God will ever send a ‘desciple’ to do justice in his name..? What I mean is that will he do justice when the right time comes or can he like send someone to protect his children. Sorry if that may sound off, I’m not that good with my english

  • lookingup says:

    To Anonymous, It is possible that what you fear is true, but it is possible it is not true. With out confirmation you can not know for sure. So until you can confirm this, is living in your fear how God wants you to live? We should always look to the word to see what it says.

    King David said “thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me”

    2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

    Pray for those people that their evil ways will be found out, that they will turn from them and come to know the Lord.

    Anonymous, when the spirit of fear in knocking at your door then answer him by telling him that he is not welcome because he is not of God.

    Phil 4:6 ” Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

    Stay in the word my friend, it is life.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Anonymous, I am sure you have much more to say about the situation you are in and your questions about how you can respond. Let me invite you to talk with a mentor in a private conversation. Just fill out the Mentor Request Form at http://powertochange.com/experience/talk-to-a-mentor/ and one of our mentors will be in touch with you soon by email.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Anonymous, thanks for asking the question and looking for help in understanding how to respond to evil in this world. The Bible is clear that God is the ultimate judge. He said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35). He has instituted civil leaders to keep the peace and deal with those who are act wickedly (Romans 13:1-7, 1Peter 2:13-14). So that means it is not your job to execute judgement on wrongdoers. Beyond that, Jesus said that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). That is an impossibly difficult thing to do, but when we surrender to Jesus’ control in our lives, His love flows through us to those who are hurting us. He set the example of loving those who hated Him and even prayed that God would forgive them as He was being killed by them. He can give you that same love for your enemies.

    If you have people who are trying to kill you, I recommend that you get in touch with you local authorities and let them respond to that threat. If you know of someone who is targeting those who are weaker and taking advantage of them, again get in touch with law enforcement in your area and let them deal with it. And pray that God would protect the vulnerable and weak ones, and strengthen the civil authorities to do their job.

    Let me pray for you: Dear Jesus, I pray for Anonymous and protect him/her from those who are seeking to hurt or kill. I pray that You would guide Anonymous to seek the help of law enforcement to deal with the wrong-doers. Fill Anonymous with Your love for his/her enemies and to become and agent of that love in their lives. Amen.

    So Anonymous, have you taken any steps to get vengeance on those who have wronged you?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi. Im new to this site so Im not sure to what title Im speaking, but it looks a pastor. So my question I have, and its really starting to eat me away, is, is it wrong to sin against sin. What I mean is that we all know how bad this world is starting to get and I fear that darkness will take over. So I want to know, is it against God’s will.. if I kill someone who wants to kill me or others or hurt them in some ways. Im afraid that someone might kill my family or someone I love and after that I cant just accept that it happened. Maybe he’ll kill again and I had the chance to stop him. Even rapist or those who upduct people/children. None of us really knows what heppened to them physically and mentally and also what their family and friends must have felt like. I really want to help but I dont know how. If I do it, obeying God’s word, then little can be done. I know that if you, for example help a murderer to ask for forgiveness and turn his life to good, then he’ll be saved but what about what he has done, for me thats kinda unfair.

    The thing is, although Im kinda selfish sometimes, I care a lot and want to help. But the way I want to help isn’t always that which is on the right path. I really need help because I don’t want to buy a ticket to hell. I really want to be a follower of Jesus but it’s really hard for me.

    Sorry that I made my name Anonymous but please help me.

  • Elkay says:

    Pastor Miruka, and it is good to hear from you and know that this website is benefiting you and through you, to your ministry in Kenya. We are encouraged in this online ministry when we learn that it has helped others and we pray for it to draw others to the Gospel. Thank you for taking the time to reply. We pray for great blessings and Kingdom growth in Kenya the presence of much evil and danger around you. It is in difficult circumstances like yours that people are called to follow and serve the Lord Jesus and freely give Him the worship due Him. Speaking of Jesus, Micah 5:4-5 is a wonderful picture of Him as Lord in our future when “He will stand to lead His flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. Then His people will live there undisturbed, for He will be highly honored around the world. And He will be the source of peace.” Lord Jesus, come quickly!

  • PASTOR JAMES says:

    Greetings my brethren,

    Thank you for your response and the video recordings you posted to me.
    Actually, it is great joy to learn so many things when I visited your website on the internet. I was absolutely touched on your good teachings on video and I asked God to touch you expand your ministry here in Kenya. We are glad to partner and network together for the betterment of God’s Kingdom!

    We love to hear from you! God bless you!

    Pastor James Miruka

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