"Therefore, rid yourself of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind." - 1 Peter 2:1 (NIV)
Wow...tough verse! Especially for me as malice (anger) is my evil of choice. I can do this, though...with God's help and using Jesus as my example. There are many examples in the Gospels of Jesus confronting evil and His response to it. He NEVER compromised with Satan's handiwork and neither should I.
Jesus actually shows me what righteous indignation looks like. Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-16 and Luke 19:45 (NIV) all tell me how Jesus drove out the buyers and sellers that were in the temple area. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of the dove sellers. He was righteously angry that these people had defiled God's house because they professed to be priests and teachers of God's Word. In 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 (NIV), I am given instructions as to how to handle evil found in those who profess to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. If they are not willing to profess their sins, ask for forgiveness and rid themselves of their sins, then I'm not to associate with them. I'm not supposed to even eat with them!! It says so right there in verse 11. That is another example of righteous indignation.
What about non-believers? What about the evil in them? Jesus wants all non-believers to come to a saving knowledge of Him. He doesn't want anyone to die without knowing Him personally. He knows what awaits those in eternity who haven't accepted Him as Lord and Savior and He doesn't want anyone to face that. But, I'm not to judge the evil in non-Christians. That judgement is up to God. Matthew 7:1 (NIV) says, "Do not judge or you too will be judged." In 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 (NIV), Paul tells me this: "I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people -- not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world." Then in verses 12-13 Paul tells me why: "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside."
There are many instances where Jesus could have harshly judged non-believers but instead He showed them love and compassion. The woman at the well (John 4 NIV), the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11 NIV), eating with "sinners" and tax collectors (Mark 2:15-17 NIV), the criminal on the cross (Luke 23:40-43 NIV), even those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34). Jesus loved them because they, as non-believers, didn't realize what they were doing was evil. This is the example I want to and am commanded to follow. It is not compromising with evil. It is showing God's love to those who don't know it.
We are all evil. We're born that way. We're sinners from the time we take our first breath until we take our last. However, for those of us who have accepted Jesus and who proclaim Him as Lord, we are NOT to compromise with Satan. We are made new in Him and are no longer supposed to conform to the world (Colossians 3:10, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23 NIV). We must make every effort to rid ourselves of the evil that Satan wants to fill us with. My prayer is that, with God's help, we can follow Jesus' example of how to never compromise with evil.
"On of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised." - Chinua Achebe
Heavenly Father, I want to follow Jesus' example of how to deal with evil. I don't want to compromise with it, Lord. I desire to be courageous in the face of it, to have righteous anger when necessary, to show love and compassion towards those who don't know Your Son as their Savior. Make me aware when I am opening the door to Satan to invade my thoughts and emotions with anger, envy, hypocrisy. Give me Your strength in those times, to rid myself of those things which will make the devil happy. I can only do these things through You. In Jesus' precious name I ask, Amen.