We Are Ignorant of Evil, and it is Killing Us
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
“The problem of evil is a very big mystery indeed. It does not submit itself easily to reductionism.” M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie
Acts 19:13-16 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” (14) Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. (15) But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” (16) And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
NOTE: The above quote from Peck is not meant to be our endorsement of all that he has written.
I hardly even need to make application of this Scripture, do I? The seven sons of Sceva are the pastors and members of our churches today. The evil spirit indwelt man is the abuser. As the pastors and Christians try to work their exorcisms on him, he leaps upon them, masters them, and overpowers them. I’m not sure how many run away naked and wounded — they would probably be better off if that happened to them to bring us all to our senses.
Evil is saying to us — in the person of the evil man — “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” Yes, who are we? Well, we are people who are ignorant of evil. And in this ignorance, we apply the wrong remedies, yet are quite confident our medicine is the correct one. In the case of abuse however, it is all too often the victim who flees out of the house naked and wounded, not us.
Evil is not so simple. Evil is seductive and deceptive. It clouds our minds. It lies — it always lies. It charms — oh, how it charms us. And it can sound eminently reasonable. Listen to it long enough, and it will have you. Bilbo almost forgot that in the lair of Smaug and the dragon almost had him turned against his own friends.
I will say once more what I have said many times: If you want to become wise about sin and evil, about Satan and his tactics, set yourself to study the mentality and tactics of abuse. You will see evil in action as never before. You will whack yourself “upside the head” more than once exclaiming, “Stupid! How did I not see that?” And eventually, that man in whom the evil resides will cease to master and overpower you. You will be able to say, “I know you, and I know what you are doing. In the name of Jesus Christ, depart!”