2 Peter 2:7 speaks of “… Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:”
I find myself vexed in this same way. Like Jesus, we are asked to be a sin bearer….to bear the sins of others… sins that effect the quality of our life in many and varied crushing and disappointing ways. Sometimes we are told that suffering is caused by the free will of man. Because man has a free will and can make choices…and everyone else’s choices touch our lives…. we all suffer.
This idea brings to mind (and defends) the philosophy that Jean-Paul Sartre expressed, in his famous statement that, “Hell is other people.” What a sense of vexation and anger is evoked in us with this thought that other people are constantly causing our suffering and thwarting our happiness and generally jiggering up our world.
On the other hand, if we can believe that our loving Father is the FIRST cause of everything that happens in our lives whether we see it as good or evil, how much easier everything is to bear. How much easier to forgive others, if they are seen only as the SECOND cause in our suffering… if we could receive their blows as from our loving Father who has wisely measured out our suffering and allowed it for our betterment. If we could stop resisting evil…and responding in kind….how much more peaceful our life could be.
Is it possible that injustice is done in order that we might release our hold on our “rights,” die to self, and trust in our Father’s capacity to put all things right. Is it possible that in our trials we have been given yet another opportunity to work out practically what it means to love our enemies…to overcome evil with good… to bless them that curse us… and pray for them which despitefully use us.
Consider 1 Corinthians 10:13. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
It has occurred to me that if we say that evil comes to us from man’s freewill or any other source than our Father’s careful hand—then how can this verse have any meaning for us. How can we be sure we won’t be tried beyond our capacity? Maybe Father won’t take us beyond our limits…but others might!
No….I believe like Job…that all things are of God. Job said, “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Job 2:10 and the verse goes on to state, “ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” In other words….he spoke the truth.
So I say…we can rage against the night…allowing evil to suck us dry, or we can simply be content to be a small point of light…with joy…which in the long run is going to do far more to dispell darkness.