In his very helpful address at the Children Desiring God conference, Russell Moore drew clear attention to our enemy:
We rage against the reptile, not against his prey.
The reptile, of course, is Satan.
It can feel like he’s winning this war. In this article from Saturday’s New York Times (login may be required; not appropriate for young children), the depths of our culture’s disregard for adults with severe disabilities living in group homes was apparent:
And, despite a state law requiring that incidents in which a crime may have been committed be reported to law enforcement, such referrals are rare: State records show that of some 13,000 allegations of abuse in 2009 within state-operated and licensed homes, fewer than 5 percent were referred to law enforcement. The hundreds of files examined by The Times contained shocking examples of abuse of residents with conditions like Down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy.
Stories like these make me fully appreciate when parents say things like, “my prayer is to live one day longer than my child.” The evil of this present age is horrifying, especially in light of how vulnerable my son is because of his multiple disabilities.
Pastor John helpfully reminds us that God is not just full of mercy:
God is more than merciful. He is also just. Verse 19 (of Romans 12) makes this crystal clear: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No wrong will go without punishment. The wrath of God will repay every wrong either in the suffering and death of Christ for those who repent and believe on him, or in hell for those who don’t. So when we return good for evil, it’s not only because God is merciful, but also because God is just. We display his mercy and we defer to his justice. John Piper, When Is It Right to Repay Evil with Pain?, March 13, 2005
That doesn’t mean we are passive about evil. We can pursue justice, but we do so through proper institutions and with a proper heart:
And God calls us to uphold justice as part of the God-ordained institutions we belong to—and all this to show people what God is like in his justice, and how he frees us to do justice without a malicious spirit. Piper, same sermon
To my family members and friends in law enforcement: John, Andrew, Chris and Greg, I am very grateful God has called you to face the evil of this age as representatives of the civil authorities God has appointed. And I am grateful that your experiences with your cousin, sister, and children with disabilities have shaped your understanding about people with disabilities as part of God’s creation worth protecting, nurturing and esteeming.
And I’m grateful that, someday, your services will no longer be needed. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!