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Summary: The language of sin and evil are a lost language in society and even in the church today. In an attempt to build people up we neglect our responsibility to speak the truth about the nature of these two words which the Biblical writers found extremely impo

In 1960, Israeli undercover agents orchestrated the daring kidnapping of one of the worst of the Holocaust’s masterminds, Adolf Eichmann. After capturing him in his South American hideout, they transported him to Israel to stand trial.

There, prosecutors called a string of former concentration camp prisoners as witnesses. One was a small man named Yehiel Dinur, who had miraculously escaped death in Auschwitz.

On his day to testify, Dinur entered the courtroom and stared at the man in the bulletproof glass booth – the man who had murdered Dinur’s friends, personally executed a number of Jews, and presided over the slaughter of millions more. As the eyes of the two men met – victim and murderous tyrant – the courtroom fell silent, filled with the tension of the confrontation. But no one was prepared for what happened next.

Yehiel Dinur began to shout and sob, collapsing to the floor.

Was he overcome by hatred? By the horrifying memories? By the evil incarnate in Eichmann’s face?

No. As he later explained in a riveting 60 Minutes interview, it was because Eichmann was not the demonic personification of evil that Dinur had expected. Rather, he was an ordinary man, just like anyone else. And in that one instant, Dinur came to a stunning realization that sin and evil are the human condition. “I was afraid about myself,” Dinur said. “I saw that I am capable to do this … exactly like he.”

Dinur’s remarkable statements caused Mike Wallace to turn to the camera and ask the audience the most painful of all questions: “How was it possible for a man to act as

Eichmann acted? Was he a monster? A madman? Or was he perhaps something even more terrifying? Was he normal?

Yehiel Dinur’s shocking conclusion? “Euchmann is in all of us.”

The language of sin and evil is a lost language in society today and even in the church. Our culture is uncomfortable with the words. We don’t like to place labels on anyone and are quick to rationalize behavior by pointing to a broken home or an abusive relationship. We’ve found a new way of identifying what we used to call sin. Today we call it being broken, or wounded, or unhealthy. Why? Because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s self esteem. We want everyone to feel good about themselves. And telling someone that they are sinful doesn’t build them up. The language of evil and sin has been toned down so much that today in the church, the words are seldom spoken. When was the last time you heard a sermon on it? And I’m just as guilty of it as the next preacher. Why? Because I want you to go away from here feeling good about your relationship with God, not feeling badly about yourselves. But in our attempt to make each other feel good we’ve lost something very important. We’ve lost track of the fact that if there is no darkness, no evil, and no sin, then there can be no light, no goodness and no love.

If you take a brief survey of the Scriptures you’ll discover that the Biblical writers had no problem reflecting upon sin and evil and calling them by name. According to my concordance, the word “evil” is found in the Bible some 600 times and the word “sin” some 500 times. The Gospels alone contain over 50 explicit references to evil and Paul uses the word more than 60 times. The New Testament also has over 100 references to sin. So what conclusion should we draw from this? I would suggest that we cannot simply ignore these words and the need to address them in our walks with God.

Today, I want to begin a series dealing with the problem of evil and the process whereby we can overcome it in our own lives. I want to start today by talking with you about our need to uncover the lie that we tell ourselves and come face to face with the enemy within. Today, my goal is to make you uncomfortable.

You see, I believe that we all are guilty of lying to ourselves. I believe that most of us in this church today are here because we believe that we are doing the right thing in being here. And most of us here today believe that we’re good people, for the most part. I mean I’m preaching to the choir, right? You are the people to whom others look up. You are the ones that others respect. When your neighbors are hung over from the party the night before you’re getting dressed for church. When your friends are spending the morning in bed sleeping in you’re up and giving of your time to God. You put your $10 in the offering or maybe you even give a tenth of what you have to God. You’re a good person right? Aren’t we all? At least we like to think so, don’t we? We like to lie to ourselves and to those around us and say, “Look at me. Look what a great father I am. Look what a great wife I am.” But somewhere deep down inside, where others cannot see, there’s another person hiding in the shadows. There’s a woman with very deep anger and resentment toward the world. There’s a man who cannot control his lust. There’s a teenager or young adult who knows that her abuse of alcohol is going to destroy her life if she doesn’t stop. There’s a tongue which enjoys tearing other people apart with its words. Whatever it is, we all have the same problem. It’s like a virus which has spread to every human being. A virus which sometimes is more subtle than others, but which ultimately is present in each of our bodies. It’s a virus that was taken care of at Calvary some 2000 years ago and yet which we all continue to struggle with on a daily basis.

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