The problem with looking for a villain

The problem with looking for a villain

Whenever something terrible happens, the common narrative put forward by the news organisations is that someone evil is to blame. We then get a profile of the ‘monster’ in question. We are supposed to cheer when that person gets justice, either in the form of a tragic death or a severe jail sentence. This perspective assumes that the world is a pretty simple place, mainly populated by good people, with a few bad people doing bad things.

For example, there was a tragic incident in Australia in mid-December 2022. Two police officers were killed in cold blood along with a neighbour trying to help. The three perpetrators were later killed by the police special response unit. Those responsible were two brothers and one woman who was the wife of one of the brothers. News outlets in the days that followed uncovered the evil behaviour of the three people, but one was given more sympathy. The woman who was involved had her backstory as a quiet country girl explained by her family members, with her involvement in this terrible crime cast as her being led astray by her husband.

Now, I have no special knowledge of this particular situation, and it is clear that these three people did terrible things. But I think this does reveal a way we’d like to see the world. We’d like to think that most people are good and evil in the world is due to the few bad people. These bad people are responsible for what they do and also for influencing others around them. If that is true, we can sit in judgement on the bad people, and feel that we are better than they are.

There is a problem with seeing the world this way; it is simply not true.

The Bible has a much better explanation for the evil in the world. It is due to our rebellion against God, our wanting to do our own thing instead of serving the One who made us. And that is not a problem for the few obviously bad people we come to know about. It is a problem for all of us. We cannot rest in comfort thinking that if the few obviously bad people don’t come near us, we will be fine. No, all of us are obviously bad people. We are all motivated by selfishness and greed and lust. Some just have more opportunity than others, or more power, or have overruled their consciences enough that their evil doesn’t bother them anymore.

No, the right response to evil in the world, in whatever the next terrible incident the news reveals to us, is to humbly cry out to God. It is a sign of the evil in the world and in us, not just an isolated problem. It is yet another sign that we need Someone to come and fix our problem, for we have so much evidence of the evil in our own hearts.

Thank God for Jesus. He came to die for all who trust in Him, all who know they are truly bad and not good in God’s sight. That is indeed wonderful news.