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Evil Is Not and Cannot Be Good

An organization called “Faith Biblical Counseling” tweeted this today: “Hurting and grieving parents are often comforted by remembering that Jesus loves their children more than they ever could.”

Reading statements like this makes me see red. This idea diminishes the grief and loss that those parents face. It refuses to name evil as such. It denies their very real pain. If you are in this position, may I recommend a few posts on lament, pain, evil, and God?

Without Lament We Lie About God

The worst songs (and the teaching that goes with them) imply that even to name the bad things makes them true and gives them power over us. God does promise a happy ending, but it often comes after our death. God never promises ease and comfort and happy endings here, now, in this life. Quite the opposite. God promises trouble and pain. (“In this world you will have troubleBut take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33) But He also promises to be there with us because He, in Jesus, has walked through every painful experience of life already. Do you see how this can shipwreck someone’s faith? If you tell me God gets me out of every trouble, and then He doesn’t, I will naturally conclude that God has broken his promise, that He is not trustworthy. Telling me not to name my pain gives it the power to destroy my faith. For who will worship and obey a God who breaks His promises?

Gratitude Lists and What To Do With Pain

To me, it is a great disrespect to call something bad “good.” It minimizes the real suffering and the ongoing permanent loss experienced by those of us to whom bad things happen.” Maybe what God wants us to do with our pain is to see it for what it is, and work against it.

God, Grief, Child Killers, and Second Chances

I am not saying that God renames evil as “good.” I do not believe that God will never say, “The murder of this child is good” or “Cancer is good” or “Rape is good.”

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Comments

  1. I agree that we must call evil what it is, but I’m not sure I understand why that quote makes you “see red.” When something horrible and evil had happened to my children, I was actually VERY comforted by the thought that Jesus loves my children even more than I do–because that underscored to me the fact that God did not have a hand in the evil that took place there–EVIL did. Period. And it reminded me that God promises to bring something good out of everything, even happenings brought on by evil, BECAUSE he loves my children so much–and he did. In our case, He brought healing and redemption and passion to do what we can to make a difference in this world. Although the healing is not complete, and, I expect, will not be complete this side of heaven… Still, it is enough to allow us to live lives in which we have hope and joy, even alongside the hurting. I have to disagree with you–I don’t think that statement in any way denies grief, loss, pain or evil; I think it simply remind us that Jesus grieves with us. But, perhaps even more important than that, if it is true that the idea of Jesus loving our children more than we do (which he certainly does) gives grieving parents comfort, then who is anyone to rage against that? Let parents who are experiencing the unthinkable find comfort wherever they can.

    • It’s quite true that Jesus loves more than we can ever imagine (and what a blessing that that knowledge began a healing in you and your family!). But it’s also quite true that we all grieve and respond to evil in different ways! I’m glad Joy shared these posts as resources for processing grief/anger/hurt/confusion…many are still searching and hopefully, they’ll find the answers they are looking for rather than just accepting blanket statements like the one above.
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    • Krissy, I’m very glad that you found comfort in this idea. And I’m so sorry that you confronted evil in the lives of your children. My daughter died 4 years ago. This tweet does not comfort me. The words land on me as if to brush off my grief and loss, as if those emotions are illegitimate because my daughter is a better place. I believe that she is, but I want her here. Does that make sense? If Faith wrote the tweet intending to convey that Jesus grieves with us, than they failed. They should have simply said Jesus grieves with us. I completely agree with that, and find comfort in it.

      • Yes, I get what you’re saying now. I guess it’s all in how we understand that statement. To me, that statement IMPLIES that Jesus grieves with us, and, more important, that God did not WILL that evil. (Statements such as “His ways are mysterious,” “Ours is not to question why,” etc. are the ones that make ME see red.) You understood the statement differently. Maybe it has to do with who says it to us and the context around it?

        • Interesting! I really dislike being told I’m not supposed to ask why, but lately I’ve found rest in the idea that some things simply are mysteries that I cannot understand, at least not now. Of course, a few years ago, someone saying “His ways are mysterious” also sounded like “Don’t ask why.” It’s been a long process for me. Maybe that’s part of it too — who said it, what the context is, and where you are yourself. I need to remember that too — we aren’t all in the same place in our grief. Thanks for the discussion!

          • Jo Inglis (@Piano_Jo) says:

            Thanks ladies (Joy & Krissy) – this is what I so often don’t see or hear in discussions, space to hear the perspectives of others. Because we are vulnerable when discussing raw things it’s so easy to be offended by another viewpoint which in turn prevents us from hearing what the other is really saying. It’s so ludicrously simple yet also hard to see when we are caught in the middle of it all isn’t it?

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  1. [...] friend Joy gathered a collection of posts she’s written about grief. While these aren’t technically new posts, they are all worth [...]