My Musings

Decent Exposure

Decent Exposure

Avoiding evil is not easy. Sorry to break this to you but being awesome at avoiding evil is not enough. We must expose and oppose it. Christians are not called to run from darkness but toward it—fearlessly, as children of light. Listen to the apostle Paul: “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

There is a long legacy of bold believers in the Bible who took on the forces of evil, pulling no punches. Here are just a few:

  • Moses: the most humble man alive (Numbers 12:3), got mighty feisty with God’s people when they grumbled and slipped into idolatry (see Exodus 32).
  • Samuel: confronted King Saul for his disobedience, lies and pathetic excuses (see 1 Samuel 15). This broke Samuel’s heart and led to ongoing grief over Saul but Samuel still did his job as a prophet.
  • Nathan: bravely called King David on the carpet for his sins of adultery, deception and conspiracy to rub out the loyal husband of a woman he impregnated. David could have ignored Nathan or punished him for speaking truth to power. Instead, the king was cut to the heart and he repented.
  • Ezekiel: was appointed to be a “watchman” to warn the wicked.
  • Amos: understood the risk of being a public truth-teller. He wrote, “They hate him who reproves in the gate.” (Amos 5:10).
  • John the Baptist: blasted Herod the tetrarch for stealing his brother’s wife, and for “all the wicked things which Herod had done.” (Luke 3:19). For his boldness, John lost his head.
  • Jesus: understood the stakes involved for those who step up to expose evil. He explained, “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:20). Evil hates exposure like Dracula hates sunlight. True to form, Jesus did not mince words rebuking the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. He did not pull punches when describing his generation, which he called “evil and adulterous…” (Matthew 12:39 and 16:4); “unbelieving…” (Mark 9:19); “wicked…” (Matthew 12:45 and Luke 11:29), “unbelieving and perverse…” (Matthew 17:17 and Luke 9:41); and “adulterous and sinful…” (Mark 8:38). On the day the church was born, the apostle Peter rebuked his generation as “perverse” (Acts 2:40). So, when Christians lament out loud the moral bankruptcy of our times, we are walking in the courageous footsteps of our kind Savior and his apostles. But in no way did Jesus hate his generation. Rather, he wept for them. His rebukes flowed from love. He probably knew the Old Testament ordinance that forbids hating a fellow countryman but allows reproving him (Leviticus 19:17)

Jesus’ fiercest rebuke went to those who cause “little ones” to stumble or sin. Such people deserve a fate worse than being tossed into the sea with a millstone around the neck (Luke 17:2). Instead of causing evil, we must rebuke it. Jesus said, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3). Showing a sinner his fault is, for Jesus, the first step toward reconciliation. But regardless of the result, clamming up or rolling over in the face of evil is neither Christ-like or Christian.

Check out the following lyrics in a new song by Sara Bareilles, titled “Brave:”

    Everybody’s … been stared down by the enemy,
    Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing,
    Bow down to the mighty;
    Don’t run! Stop holding your tongue.
    Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live.
    Maybe one of these days you can let the light in.
    Show me how big your brave is.
    Say what you wanna say, Let the words fall out
    Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.

Intimidation is a favorite instrument of evil. It fails, however, with Jesus’ followers. When stared down by the enemy, stand up and stare back. Don’t run from evil, expose it! Oppose it! Moral purity is hard to find these days but moral courage is rarer still. I believe God wants to see us be brave.


About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.
  • Shirley Jones

    I love this video! Thanks, Joel!