Updated: Jun 30
Dear Friends, I have learned in my plight and from research on godly anger that until we at once abhor what is evil and cling to what is good simultaneously, our love will be tainted with hypocrisy. Allow me to explain by recounting a scene from the PG-rated movie of my life. On June 22, 2011 the former president of Simpson University fired me on-the-spot in person to the shock of my boss (the provost) whose face instantaneously turned from the color of its normal flush to a Daniel-deathly-pallor-albino-white (Daniel 10:8). I have never seen any face so bloodless. The provost was stricken with visible fright because he realized in that instant that if I could be fired with no warning and in defiance of the terms of my express, written contract, then anyone could be terminated at any moment arbitrarily--including my boss as well. Providentially I knew why the provost was so scared because when I interviewed for the job, he had told me that he had been fired once without notice because the president of the school he formerly worked at had decided to replace him with a friend, and thus did so ambush-style without conducting a new search. So the provost, you see, upon watching me be ousted, was traumatized because he was triggered. As for me, in that spiritually evil moment, I was kindly graced with what I call “God calm.” God’s Presence was so palpable that I could sense the Lord as if He were just inches to the right of my right ear. My focus was clear because I understood that in breaching my contract, the president was breaking state law. “I’m Here” were the words that guided my calm. God was in the room right with me. Naively I believed the president then and there was removing himself, not me. Naively I believed the professing Christian board would require the president to reinstate me right away or else resign. I was wrong on both accounts because I was not wise as a serpent. What happened instead is that false accusations being hurled against me tumbled into lies that were told by the board chair that swirled into lies that were told to the board that eddied into lies that were announced to the community repeatedly by the president that solidified into lies that were etched into the history of the governance of the school. In other words, evil came. For fifteen months I was so galled by this that I lost my “God calm.” I was almost entirely disillusioned. That is, until suddenly I was jolted by the Word of God when I saw in the Scriptures from none other than Jesus Himself these unsettling words, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.” What? Jesus is the One Who sent me out into the wolves? In Fall 2012, I was riveted again when Psalm 105:17 jumped out of the pages of my Giant Print Bible and totally revolutionized my perspective: God “sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.” God sent Joseph. Yet Joseph’s brothers in their wickedness were God’s instruments. Remembering this, I chose then and there resolutely to believe that God was sending me ahead. Hear my testimony: In Fall 2012, I became convinced that what wayward authority figures meant for evil (Genesis 50:20) in pursuit of their own self-preservation is what God meant for my testing and my good. God was forming me, reshaping me into a vessel, and the process of Him doing so required me to be smashed and severely disciplined (Hebrews 12:4-11). I was dizzied and disoriented because I was being spun on a Potter’s wheel (Jeremiah 18:1-6). Hear my testimony because it glorifies God: As a result of my troubles, I trust God more, not less. In fact, this might be my biggest takeaway from my ongoing saga: Romans 12:9, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” (NASB)
The ONLY way to love without hypocrisy is to abhor what is evil BY clinging to what is good.
There is NO WAY to avoid being hypocrites unless we cling to good BY abhorring what is evil.
It is not enough to abhor what is evil. We must also, always cling to what is good.
If we think we can cling to good without abhorring evil, we will prove to be hypocrites.
My prayer is for us all to obey the three commandments embedded in this verse because
during these difficult days it is critical to know that abhorring what is evil BY clinging to what is good reveals the biblical secret of HOW we can together OVERCOME evil with good (Romans 12:21).