Evil in the Church


Have you ever met a Christian, especially one in leadership, and something feels off?

John White describes evil emerging in us like this…

Imagine you open a piano and sing a note into it. If your pitch is good enough a string with the corresponding note will begin to vibrate. The devil works the same with us, he “hums a note” by telling a lie that resonates with our tendencies to do wrong. Or as Dr. Timothy Keller states it, “He (the devil) stimulates the talk that goes on in your heart.”

Be careful when the devil sings your song.

What in the world are these guys talking about?

See, we must know what our “notes” are, the predispositions in us that could really mess up our lives. For example, alcohol for one may be a non-issue but for another is a fast track to disastrous consequences. For someone else, working with a co-worker that is attractive is a non-issue but for another it would destroy their family. The deepest danger is in failing to recognize our own weaknesses. This I believe is where the enemy is most deadly. Then when someone points out in us a potential weakness we lash out, vehemently defending our little pet god and reassuring ourselves that we have no problem, no issue, all while our intense defensiveness and clear obsession condemn us. I can hear Gollum from the book The Lord of the Rings repeating “my precious.”

Be careful when the devil sings your song.

Personally, I find that my struggles are sneaky.

They are so insidious I don’t even notice them creeping in until my accountability partners point them out.

It’s not something like noticing the beautiful girl on the movie screen. Noticing something beautiful isn’t directly sin. It’s what I do in my heart, mind, and actions where it becomes sin.

For me though it’s when I take something sinful and in my heart try to rebrand it as a Godly virtue…

  • It’s when I try to call what is really greed good stewardship.
  • It’s when I try to rebrand gossip as a prayer request.
  • It’s when I am overly harsh with my staff and I call it “strong” leadership.
  • It’s when I divorce myself from honest business dealings because “it’s just the way business works.”
  • It’s when I try to make jealousy and covetousness okay because I am pursuing the American dream. Especially when it comes at the cost of helping others who are in true need.

This is where I think the church has lost ground. Where they have let go of Godly virtues because they (me included at times) try to dress up wrong behavior in pseudo spirituality. When this goes unchecked over time in Christian leaders the ministry they work in becomes tainted. Something begins to feel off.

Be careful when the devil sings your song. Why? Because the sweet music he plays bitterly deceives…

Here is my challenge!

  • Study the Bible regularly. It’s much easier to spot something that is off when you know what right looks like!
  • Find safe, committed, solid friends who will speak truth into your life. Listen to them and speak honestly to them. Let them help you discover what your weaknesses are! Yes, we all have weaknesses and we all need accountability!
  • Never assume you are beyond temptation. As the old saying goes “assuming makes an a** out of you.” It’s true! Pride really does go before a fall.
  • Remember! Spiritual formation is a continual process. Don’t quit!

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