College can breed some peculiar survival techniques. One technique I latched on to in college was the late night junk food run. While many of my roommates preferred thick crust pizza or the candy aisle at the nearest gas station, I usually found myself at 1 AM in a car filled with starving girls headed to a drive through burger place. Now I never ordered a burger, I was too broke for such a high-end delicacy. I just got a large fry and a Diet Coke. Many times my girlfriends would ask me why I bothered with a Diet Coke when I was digesting massive quantities of grease, carbohydrates and fat grams from the French fries. My answer? “The Diet Coke cancels out the fat in the fries.” Now I did not REALLY believe that the fat was miraculously dissolved by the magical properties of a diet soda but saying it made the fries go down easier.
Junk food is not the only bad thing that goes down better with a good excuse. At some point, washing down the bad with some good is something we all do. It might sound like: “I know I yell at my kids but to be a good mom I have to get things through their heads.” Or “I know I didn’t have any charitable contributions last year but isn’t it important to be a good provider?” Maybe even “I know I lied. I’m not really putting in over time but when I’m away from the house there’s less fighting.” It’s too easy to find a good excuse to try and water down the bad things we’re doing.
This is not a new discovery. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:21 “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” It’s creepy to think that evil is right there with you but it’s true. Christians want to do good, try to do good and sometimes, things really do turn out good. But more often than we’d like to admit, our good intentions are over shadowed by our bad behavior.
There’s lots of ways to hide the evil that’s right there with you. You could ignore it saying something like “Giving to charities is not important.” or you could justify the evil by saying “It’s OK I lied because then no one would get hurt.” or you could even try some magical thinking like “My kids know I love them so it’s OK I yell.”
Good doesn’t dissolve evil just like Diet Coke doesn’t dissolve fat grams. We must learn to live with both. But how? Later in Chapter 7, Paul asked the same thing by saying “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” And his answer? “Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Ask Jesus to show you the evil that is right beside you then don’t ignore it, justify it or wish it away. Take it to your rescuer- Christ the Lord.