[This is an adaptation from a paper I’m currently writing.]
Last night, our class had a thrilling discussion on the reality of evil. While we can’t figure out the origin of evil, we do know that it’s real. Take the story, for example, of a famous psychiatrist who had to come to terms with evil itself:
“The second element which must be factored in is the psychological one. The famous American psychotherapist M. Scott Peck was for many years an agnostic. He learned his psychiatry according to the standard model in which there was no such thing as evil. But at around the same time as, to his own surprise, he came into the Christian faith, he came to recognize that in some cases at least it was not enough to regard certain patients, or in some cases the families of certain patients, as simply ill or muddled or misguided. He was forced to come to terms with a larger, darker power, for which the only word was evil. He wrote his book People of the Lie to articulate this unpopular viewpoint.” – N. T. Wright. Evil and the Justice of God
- Why do employees misbehave?
- Why did so-and-so lie about this accounting spreadsheet?
- What motivated this employee to sue the company?
- Why is this manager constantly misusing and abusing their power?
- Why is this employee constantly threatening others with their snide remarks?
- How could this employee steal money from us?
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
It is my summation that much of the weariness and cynicism that many leaders in the workplace face is contributed to the ongoing work of confronting structural and personal evil. It is hard work having to confront injustices and systemic problems that just don’t seem to go away. Yet Paul tells us to take a stand and arm ourselves. Take note that you are not battling “Suzie” or “Tyler”. No. You are confronting the force of evil that is influencing and deceiving many. This is not to make evil the scapegoat because Jesus has destroyed the power of the evil one and we have the power to choose which voice we will listen to.
The Christian worldview is to live in the authority of Jesus, to act in accordance to His heart and character, to trust the work of the Cross, and to claim for ourselves the victory of Christ over all evil. While Jesus already did this work, it has yet to be fully consummated on earth. Part of the Gospel message is that we are now partners with Christ to assail the work of evil in our own contexts. We are now heralds and agents of the work of Christ. We are called to promote forgiveness, justice, ethical/moral living, a solid work and social ethic, and to extend healing, grace, and mercy as much as we can in Christ.
Instead of crumbling in defeat, we are to take a stand on the Victory of Christ over death and evil! We must pray to see how we can all do this in the marketplace.
Some Stories that Highlight the confronting of evil and doing good (don’t be overcome by evil…overcome it with Good!! Rom. 12:21)
*A manager who has been providing care and support to a single mother. The manager has been periodically checking in on the employee to see how they’re doing and to offer support to the best of their ability.
*An employee offered his vacation time to anybody who might need an extended amount of time to recover from surgery or an ailment! It put tears in my eyes to hear that he wanted to do this!
*A manager, the other day, brought in one of his employees to his office because the employee was not performing as usual. Instead of beating down the employee, the manager shared all the good qualities the employee usually embodies. And then asked him, “What has changed? You’re usually on top of things.” It turns out the employee was going through a slump and just needed some encouragement.
*The other day I had the chance to pray for an employee who struggling with physical pain, as well as the sadness of seeing his brother struggling with cancer. We prayed and the employee began crying. Afterwards, they said, “I just needed to release this burden with tears. Thanks for letting me do that”.
Let’s continue to overcome evil in our own contexts with good. And then share the story with someone. Share it with me if you can!!! 🙂