Here are four ways that God can even use evil for good
Serving and Suffering
Of course, there is no better example of evil men being used for, not only good, but much good…and much glory too, than on the cross! The cross is the absolute most vivid display of God’s “agape” love that has ever been or ever will be displayed. This was not done in a corner (Acts 26:26), and as the Apostle Paul said, “the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:22-23). God wasn’t taken by surprise. Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). No one took His life from Him (John 10:18). Even so, they were still responsible for their actions (as we were because of our sins), but this greatest of all evils brought the greatest of all good (John 3:16). You too can give your life for others by dying to self and living for Christ, and by serving those in His body, the church (and beyond)…even if they treat you in an evil way or talk behind your back.
Slander and Shame
Many years ago, I was accused of something at work at the machine shop that I worked at. I got called into the office for it too, so it was only then that this verse came to mind from the Apostle Peter, who wrote, “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1st Pet 3:15-16). That didn’t mean this evil would be judged right away. Ultimately, God will judge everything (Rom 12:14-19). Vengeance is not mine, but it will come. It just might not be today or in this life.
Suffering for Glory
I really had a hard time accepting the truth that suffering is for our own good. I was always allergic to suffering. I wanted nothing to do with it, but I found out after reading the Bible, it was good for me (Psalm 119:71), especially if it’s for doing good things as the Apostle Peter writes, that “it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1st Pet 3:17). That’s a hard pill to swallow, isn’t it? It might be God’s will that we should suffer!? Yes, but remember that “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2nd Cor 4:17).
Blessed by being Cursed
I have been called some very bad names before when I tried to share the gospel with someone. One time I went down and sat next to a man waiting at the bus stop. I struck up a conversation and introduced the subject of Jesus Christ and the need for repentance and faith (Mark 1:15). The man listened but he never accepted any of it. I do hope I planted a seed that someone else later watered, but when the bus showed up, the man said, “Well, here’s our bus…” but I said, “I’m not getting on…” The man looked at me and said, “You mean the only reason you talked to me wasn’t’ to wait on the bus, but to talk about your religion crap!?” He was angry and started cussing at me. I walked away, and you know what? I didn’t feel blessed at the time, but I have to believe what Jesus said; “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:11-12).
I could have also told you how God used the evil treatment of Joseph who was sold into slavery, then thrown into prison, twice! He was accused of something that he had never did, and yet it said over and over again, “And the Lord was with Joseph” (Gen 39:2, 21). I know it’s hard to serve others when they don’t even say thank you or treat you decently. It’s really hard to suffer, especially for doing good. And it’s difficult to feel blessed when someone’s swearing at you or cussing you out for your faith. It doesn’t matter because God can use evil for His own good and His own glory, and that’s all that matters.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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