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Why Does God Allow People to Do Such Terrible Things?

Why Does God Allow People to Do Such Terrible Things?

But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them. Exodus 8:15

When I was in junior high, computers showed up in school and for the first time, we learned computer programming. I recall creating a program that did nothing but count from one to one million. If I remember right, typing RUN started the program and off it went, doing exactly what I programmed it to do, never varying or making a mistake. It was amusing for about 30 seconds and then it got pretty boring. Even if I’d created a program that did something useful, and even if it worked perfectly, it would have remained only mildly amusing. A computer program cannot show emotion or display love, and so, I could never find the joy in a computer that I’m meant to find in interpersonal relationships.

Compare this to how I feel about my children. They’re grown and out of the house now, and so, it means that much more when they choose to come home and spend time with me. When they choose good, displaying acts of love, it brings me tremendous joy, because they don’t have to do it. They do it rather, because they want to, because of love. For me to find joy in my children’s love though, they must have a choice. Love means free will and free will means risk. For their love to be real, they must have the capability to be unloving. If, like my computer program, they did only what I intended them to do, it wouldn’t be love. They’d be robots and I’d find no joy in that. For love to be real, they must be able to choose to be hurtful as well. This helps me understand why God allows evil behavior.

In today’s passage, Pharaoh once again refused to let God’s people travel into the wilderness to worship him. His stubbornness inflicted further pain on both the Hebrews and the Egyptians. So, why does God allow people to hurt others? Paradoxically, the answer is love. God made us and desires that follow him and love him. He finds joy in this. For our love to be real though, we must have choice. Free will means that we can choose evil, hurting ourselves and those around us. The capacity for evil was the necessary price God was willing to risk to create the capacity for love.

I often want to ask why God allows others to commit evil. The most honest question though, is why I commit evil. I don’t want to be a robot. I like my free will. When I use my free will for evil though, I hurt God, myself, and others. Daily, I must make this choice. So daily, I must point my life at God, doing what I know to be right. In doing so, I commit love instead of evil, using my free will for good as God intended.

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