READ : Psalm 119:113-120
Away from me, you evildoers. (v. 115 NIV)
“Away from me, you evildoers,” cries the psalmist. Should you and I be prepared to follow suit? Are there circumstances in which we ought to take to the streets chanting, “Evildoers out”? If so, who exactly would we be gunning for?
This is dangerous ground. The text is not a pretext for saying “Down with people I dislike,” or even “Down with people I think are wrong.” Rather, the psalmist is distancing himself from those who despise God’s law. He does so because God himself rejects them (verse 115, third from the beginning, mirrors verse 118, third from the end).
But people are such a mix of good and bad, and only God knows for sure those who are truly his and those who are not. It is easy to demonize folk we don’t like or don’t know; is so-and-so really an evil person? What is perfectly proper, and should happen perhaps more often than it does, is for Christians to speak out not so much against ungodly people as against ungodly policies and principles. All it takes for the triumph of evil, a wise man once said, is that good men do nothing.
“Good men,” though? A Christian is still a sinner! I may only condemn evil around me if I am at the same time condemning it in my own heart, with trembling penitence before a holy God (verse 120).
Lord, deliver us from evil—beginning with the evil in my own heart.