Why do some people hurt other people and even enjoy their pain? Why do people exploit others—even defenseless little ones for their gain? The question is debated by every generation. They offer explanations as to why human beings are the way they are. However, they never seem to get at the root cause of evil. The Bible offers a credible explanation for the cause of evil. It unequivocally states that everyone has a sinful nature and is prone to sin, and that is why they do terrible things to each other. It also states that they can’t stop doing evil unless God intervenes and transforms them into a new person.
Jesus states some very basic things that are very relevant to this subject of evil. He says that we will be held accountable for our actions. He says we are responsible for our attitudes and shouldn’t ignore sin in those close to us. Here are Jesus words: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves” (Luke 17:1-2).
Jesus said, “Watch yourself.” Take care to watch that you don’t sin. Your attitude is your responsibility. Your anger, your resentment, your sadness is your responsibility. It’s not your parents’, it’s not society’s responsibility—it’s yours. We don’t hear too much talk like this today because everyone wants to blame their problems and faults on someone else. Jesus says stop blaming others and take responsibility for your own thoughts and actions.
Beyond watching ourselves, he told us that we should also confront others who are sinning. Jesus said that if you see someone going down the wrong path, you are supposed to confront him and try to stop him. If you see her take a wrong turn and you know that she is on her way to a dangerous end, you are not to ignore her, but rather intervene by confronting her (Luke 17:3-4).
This might be one of the hardest things to do in our culture where everyone is entitled to their own truth. It doesn’t matter if the child is 12 years old and if he or she thinks they are right, and who are you to question them. Jesus says in effect, you know what is right and wrong. I have given you my Word. When your brother, child, friend or relative is sinning, then go to him in love and rebuke him. Do something to try to stop his insanity. Don’t think we are only talking about the sins of murder, adultery or robbery here. Even if our son or daughter has a disrespectful attitude, we are warned to confront them. Better we confront them now before it becomes an even bigger problem later. Failure to confront their children may be one of the most rampant sins of this generation.
Jesus also tells us that we are responsible to forgive the people who hurt us. Even if it is very personal, we should forgive and keep on forgiving (Luke 17:3). Regardless of the personal nature of the offense and the repetition of the offense, if the other person repents, we are to forgive him. This forgiveness is to be habitual. It is an on-going process and not a one-time act.
This not easy what Jesus is asking of us. We must watch our own attitude and take responsibility for it even though that is not easy. We must not ignore sin in those we love even though we might want to. We must forgive sin, even when it is hard. It is, however, what Christ expects, and it is just simply doing our duty as a believer in Christ.