While researching the Lord’s Prayer in 2008, I found a website that grabbed my attention titled: “So, You’ve decided to be evil.” (http://evil-guide.tripod.com – I’ve decided this website is a farce). This guide has everything you wanted to know about being evil –
Definitions – EVIL
Having qualities leading to injury and mischief; having bad moral qualities; producing or threatening sorrow, distress or injury – the Devil or Satan – but much more! “It is wickedness, malevolence, the desire to do people wrong. It is hurting people for no good reason at all, horrifically destroying their lives and then jumping up and down on their corpses.
Benefits – Gaining power, riches, bringing misfortune and destroying your enemies
Objectives and goals – world power and domination, destroying the earth and thwarting
Careers – Criminal mastermind, corporate jerk, horror movie villain, or the worst – a
Locations for Evil Lair include – old castles, sky scrapers, fake mountains, deserted islands, underground headquarters
Fashion tips – everything from “classic Black” to nightmarish costumes.
Guide for recruiting evil henchmen and making own evil plan. (Don’t get any ideas).
There is even an evil aptitude test – just to see if you have what it takes to join the forces of
darkness. Here is one question:
What would you do if the world was destroyed? A:) vow to rebuild society, B:) Double over in grief, C:) Remember the plot to disaster movies, or D:) Congratulate yourself on a job well done.
Jokes aside, the very premise of this site makes me ask a few questions: How do we deal with evil in our world? Do we in fact “decide to be evil” or is there a part of us that somehow finds evil inescapable? Can we in fact, choose good any more than we can choose evil? What role does faith play in our ability to manage good and evil in our lives, let alone apply it to others?
N.T. Wright lists three things we do with evil. (The Lord and his Prayer. [Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996], 64-76.)
- Pretend evil isn’t there – Ignore it. Hope it goes away (it won’t).
- Wallow in evil -We become evil yourself or hide in fear.
- Become self-righteous – Thank God we are not like those evildoers –
(like the parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector, found in Luke 18:9-14).
Jesus offers another alternative…Pray for deliverance. In Matthew 6:25-34, he tells us not to worry about tomorrow. He is not commending us to become careless, but not to fear, not to fret, and not to lose heart. He says, “Consider the birds of the air. If God takes care of them, don’t you think he’ll care for you?” He also says, “Consider the lilies of the field. If God’s protection of them makes them beautiful; what about you?…If God takes care of flowers and birds, shouldn’t he care more about you?”
Sometimes it is hard to see what Jesus is saying when we are in the middle of facing evil – yet as people of the cross, we know that in faith, death leads to resurrection, and God
ultimately brings evil to an end. In the meantime, Christ gives us this prayer – “Deliver us from evil.”
In his Large Catechism – Martin Luther explains,
“This petition reads, ‘Deliver or preserve us from the Evil One, or the Wicked One.’ It seems to be speaking of the devil as the sum of all evil in order that the entire substance of our prayer may be directed against our archenemy. For it is he who obstructs everything for which we ask: God’s name or honor, God’s kingdom and will, our daily bread, a good and cheerful conscious. Therefore at the end we sum it up by saying, ‘Dear Father, help us to get rid of all this misfortune.’ Nevertheless this petition includes all the evil that may befall us under the devil’s kingdom: poverty, disgrace, death, and in short, all the tragic misery and heartache, of which there is so incalculably much on earth… Thus you see how God wants us to pray to him for everything that attacks even our bodily welfare so that we seek and expect help from no one but him. But he has placed at the end this petition, for if we are to be protected and delivered from all evil, his name must first be hallowed in us, his kingdom come among us, and his will be done. In the end he will preserve us from sin and disgrace and from everything else that harms or injures us.” (“The Large Catechism,” The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. ed. Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert. [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000], 455-456.)
Evil remains a mystery, but in the end it will be thwarted. Remember which side you are on – which side has claimed you – the mercy and grace of almighty God who asks of us to trust him, not to worry, help others, and of course, to pray.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
Martin Luther’s Small Catechism: (Evangelical Lutheran Worship. [Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2006], 1164.)
But deliver us from evil.
What does this mean?
We ask in this prayer, as in a summary, that our Father in heaven may deliver us from all kinds of evil – affecting body and soul, property and reputation – and at the last, when our
final hour comes, may grant us a blessed end and take us by grace from this valley of tears to himself in heaven.