Memory Monday: Identifying Evil (Psalm 97:10)

Has anyone else noticed that evil seems to have disappeared from our world? We talk about things being bad or sad or scary, but few people talk about things being evil. Evil has become a word relegated to comic books and scary movies. Our society has become so "tolerant" that we're afraid to label anything as evil. But just because we refuse to call something evil, doesn't mean that evil has disappeared from our world. There's plenty of evil out there, whether we choose to call it that or not. Persecution, drugs, abuse, murder -- it's all evil. When we refuse to call it what it is, we lessen its impact.

Our kids need to know that evil exists. When men fly airplanes into buildings full of tens of thousands of innocent people with no intent other than to kill as many as possible, that's evil. If we downplay the evil and it's effects in an attempt to be "tolerant," we keep our kids from understanding that Satan is alive and well and working really hard to turn people away from God.

Psalm 97:10 tells us "Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked."  God tells us that if we love Him, we will hate evil. Hate is a pretty strong word. It kind of rules out a timid response to evil. God hates evil. If we love Him, then we need to hate it, too.

The last thing we want to do is to scare our kids into thinking that the world is a place to scary to set foot into. However, by ignoring evil, we give our kids a false sense of security about the world. What we want to do is see evil and name it for what it is. The second half of Psalm 97:10 states that God guards us and delivers us if we are faithful.

The next time you encounter evil in your world that your child notices, talk about it as being evil. Identify it for your kids, so they know that it's from Satan. Teach your kids to be able to discern the things that are of God from the things that Satan put in their way. Show them how to test everything they see against what the Bible has to say. Sometimes evil can look nice on the outside -- Hitler was a handsome man who, by all accounts, had an amazing amount of charisma when he spoke, but no one would deny that he was evil -- but we need to teach our kids to look past the pretty exterior to discern good from evil.

As you memorize this verse this week, be on the lookout for opportunities to help your children be discerning. And don't hesitate to name evil because your kids won't know what it looks like if you don't teach them to identify it.