I created this page to document what Scripture has to say about dealing with evil or wickedness.
GOOD AND ROTTEN:
His sun shines over the good and the ROTTEN... (Matthew 5:45, ARTB Draft)
This quotation of Yeshua (Jesus) from the Sermon on the Mount highlights one of the more difficult word problems of the New Testament which has truly revolutionized my understanding of what Jesus and John the baptist were saying.
Why is this a difficult word problem? In most bible translations, the Greek word PONEROS (G4190) is translated EVIL. But you will also find that two other Greek words are also usually translated EVIL, WICKED or BAD: KAKOS (G2556) and PHAULOS (G5337). We are well trained that the opposite of GOOD is EVIL. The second opposite we use in English is GOOD and BAD. But both Greek and Aramaic show us that there is a third word pair in existence in the New Testament that shows the opposite of GOOD, which is rendered ROTTEN in the ARTB. You will see it over and over again.
Because we no longer store food in the cellar all winter, and the grocery stores pick out the rotten fruit for us, we don't encounter rotten produce very often in our lives. The best place at my house is with a bag of onions or potatoes. But if we had bushels of apples in the basement that needed to last all winter, we'd be very attune to watching out for ROT. If one apple has rot, that apple would be extracted immediately, because the whole bushel basket of apples would quickly become to a smelly, gooey mess. All the labor put into growing those apples would be lost, and perhaps I would not have food to feed the family. If caught early enough, the extracted apple could still be used if the ROTTED spot is cut out.
Thus, the concept of being vigilant about ROT would be an everyday concern prior to refrigeration. So why is this word pair of GOOD and ROTTEN so important?
Have you ever noticed when the evening news interviews someone who has lost a relative or friend, we usually use the word GOOD? I heard one mother talking about how her son was basically a GOOD fellow, even though he died as the drunk driver in an accident. Yesterday, a dear friend reported about her daughter's relationship outside of marriage with another man. She was quick to point out that her daughter was basically GOOD. Listen this week. I'm betting you'll hear this type of discussion more than once.
Why are we so desparate to label our loved ones and ourselves as GOOD? Because the only two opposite words we have in our heads is EVIL and BAD. Very few people are EVIL and BAD. The crimes committed in concentrations camps in Germany during World War II were EVIL and BAD. My personal experience is that the presence of the EVIL-ONE, the devil himself, is palpable in EVIL situations, or with people that you sense are EVIL.
My friends, we may be basically GOOD people, but the son driving drunk made a ROTTEN choice. My friend's daughter made a ROTTEN choice in her relationship. Sin is ALWAYS a signal of ROT, but it is not always EVIL. For example, adultery is a sin, but it is not usually EVIL. We tolerate a lot of sin in our lives because we've convinced ourselves that it cannot be BAD or EVIL to seek satisfaction outside of marriage when we LOVE the other person. Violating most of the 10 commandments is not be regarded as something BAD or EVIL in today's culture, with the exception of KILLING. But every violation is a signal of ROT.
So what was the message of John the baptist? Get every speck of ROT out of your life. Confess it to God and be baptized. Don't wait until the sin is serious enough that you will have to go to Jerusalem and offer a sacrifice to the priest. Jesus said similar things. If your eye causes you to stumble, cut it out, it's a signal of ROT. If you are angry with your brother or you look with lust at a woman, run to get rid of the ROT. Otherwise you won't have fruit that remains--it will be a smelly, gooey mess. I found that if I asked myself what are my SINS to confess to God Almighty, the list is short. But when I asked where I had ROTTEN "soft spots" in my thinking, my habits, and my words the list was MUCH larger. The word ROTTEN is also a wonderful word to use when sharing the faith. If you ask someone if they are a sinner with sins to confess, the normal response is "I'm basically a GOOD person". But if you say, Have you done anything ROTTEN in your life, you get an entirely different response.
A note from A. Frances Werner:
From: Ancient Roots
Date: Mon, May 16, 2011 at 11:55 AM
Subject: ARTB Bible Blog
1 'Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.'
2 'Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:'
Do NOT follow the crowd if they are wrong or doing evil. This is a perversion of justice.
3 'Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.'
4 'If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.'
5 'If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.'
6 'Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.'
7 'Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.'
YHWH will not justify the wicked!
9 'Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.'
23 'Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.' (KJV)
2 "For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart." (KJV)
"3 Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts." (KJV)
"4 Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert." (KJV)
"5 Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up." (KJV)
14 'Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.' (KJV)
15 'Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.' (KJV)
13 "Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house." (KJV)
15 "He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD." (KJV)
17 'Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.' (KJV)
18 'For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.' (KJV)
15 'Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.' (KJV)
This applies to everyone.
9 "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (KJV)
10 "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:" (KJV)
11 "For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." (KJV)
6 'Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.'
7 'Be not ye therefore partakers with them.'
This applies to everyone.
11 'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. '