How Are the Days Evil?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15

As I sat down at my computer to write today’s reflection, I began by typing in the date: “9/11 …” Before my fingers touched the keys for the year, 2014, I felt a sinking feeling in my soul. “9/11” – Oh! Even though wonderful things have happened on 9/11—births, weddings, pronouncements of love, retirement celebrations—the very sound of the numbers, “nine eleven,” evokes sadness, even a chill of fear. For those of us living in the United States, and for countless others throughout the world, 9/11 will always be a “a date which will live in infamy.”

Although the mainland of the United States has not suffered a major terrorist attack since September 11, 2001, it hardly seems as if the world is a better, safer place. Today, we watch with growing concern as the Middle East is ripped apart by violence and the possibility of expanding suffering is great. We hear horror stories of the potential for the Ebola virus to devastate populations in Africa and beyond. The news is filled with sorry tales of leaders in business, government, and church who freely sacrifice the common good, not to mention God’s good, for the sake of their own power and pleasure. And so it goes, on and on.

So, when we read Ephesians 5:16, we can feel the truth of the last phrase, “making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Because the days are evil, indeed!

This expression doesn’t condemn the calendar. The hours of our lives aren’t themselves wicked. Rather, the expression “the days are evil” puts in a nutshell the truth that these days are filled with evil. We are reminded of the description of life apart from Christ in Ephesians 2:1-2, “You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” The days in which we live are evil because they are filled with sin and because they are dominated by the powers of darkness.

From a biblical point of view, evil does not reside only in those who perpetrate terror or who use their power to hurt others while they feather their own nests. Rather, we all live in evil days. We all confront evil in our lives. We all have been under the domination of evil. And we all live in a time when the battle between good and evil rages (see Ephesians 6:10-20). Yet, we are not stuck. We are not captive. We are not without hope. When we acknowledge the evil of the days, we have a chance to do something profound for good.

We’ll examine this beneficial activity in next Monday’s reflection. For now, though, let me encourage you to consider the following questions.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think of the days being evil, what comes to mind? Does the thought that the days in which we live are evil fill you with despair? Fear? Hope? Conviction? If it’s true that the days are evil, what difference might this make in the way we live in such times?

PRAYER: Gracious God, on this, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, we remember with sadness what Ephesians 5:16 proclaims. We sense that the days are evil. And we worry that things in our world are not getting any better. It’s easy for us to feel sad, fearful, and disheartened. It’s tempting to give up the fight, to live for the moment and for ourselves, or even to join those who revel in evil.

Help us, Lord, to live with our eyes fully open, to see the world around us as you see it, to see ourselves as you see us. May we not ignore the evil of our days. Yet may we live for you in the midst of such a time.

Today, we pray especially for those for whom this is a day of deep sadness because of loved ones lost in the attacks of 9/11 or in the war that followed those attacks. Comfort them with your Spirit. Embrace them with your love. Amen.


The Power of Storytelling

A note from our managing editor: When my children were young, telling stories at bedtime was always one the best parts of our day. I usually read stories straight from a book. But, my husband made up stories to tell the children and those stories continue to show up in conversations, even now that our children are adults. Stories are powerful, and we may tend to forget that as we grow up and move on into board rooms and classrooms and carpool lanes.

What can a story provide in a board meeting that facts and figures alone can't accomplish? How has storytelling improved relationships among coworkers, especially coworkers whose faith is different from mine? What are some of the best stories ever told in the workplace, and why did it make a difference? Why is it important to be able to tell a good story and what is a good story anyway? In the series at The High Calling, we take a look at The Power of Storytelling in the workplace. Pull up a chair and join us in the conversation.

Featured image by Daniela Chang. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr. "Stories Help Us Remember" photo and design by Jennifer Dukes Lee.