When I’d like to blame God for evil, my own reflection comes to mind. That, and ripples, flowing out, touching other lives. We love to acknowledge how an act of kindness affects others. Can we acknowledge how an act of selfishness or pride or sloth does the same? Exodus 34:6-7 has long seemed to me a statement of fact:
The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
My pride, anger, lust, envy, greed, avarice, and sloth will affect not only me but those I will never see. I will teach others to engage in the sins I commit. I will hurt others by my sins. All of creation will be harmed because I choose to act contrary to God’s will.
Loved As If is chock full of theodicy. How a loving God can allow evil? It’s a valid question. Chaos and evil predate humanity. But, while asking the question, ought we not ask ourselves, “How can I expect my evil actions to have no real consequences? How can my sin not exacerbate chaos and evil?”
One of the mind numbing and soul numbing effects of the politically correct culture we live in is Deniability. People everywhere are doing horrendous things to other people everywhere and we are not supposed to acknowledge blame. We’re supposed to buy the excuse that nobody means to do wrong. It all just happens. Stuff happens.
Well, mostly no. Mostly the stuff that happens is people doing bad things to you and you doing bad things to people. Now, it’s true that when we act selfishly we usually don’t intend the consequences of our actions, but we certainly intend the thing we aim for, and we go for it despite the consequences, despite the harm we cause.
A man certainly doesn’t intend to harm his wife and destroy his marriage when he starts cheating; the consequences aren’t what he’s aiming at. But what he’s aiming at is clear enough. He means to do what he’s doing. He knows what he’s after – what it looks like, feels like and smells like and he’s going for it. To hell with the wife and kids.