Should We be Labeling Individual People as Evil?



If you are a Christian and have ever claimed another human to be evil, you might need to rethink yourself. I know this happens a lot.

Some people call atheistic scientists evil. Some people call misguided politicians evil. Some people call murderers evil, and some even call their family members evil in extreme cases.

Yet two verses alone have led me to believe that it is wrong to:
1. Hate another person.
2. Accuse another person of being evil.

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Matthew 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.



Think about it. The New Testament tells us to hate what is evil, yet love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

If our enemies were evil, we would have to hate them right? That holds true if we are supposed to hate what is evil. Yet we are called to love our enemies. There is not a paradox there.

Simply put, God's creation cannot be evil and people are God's creation.

If you are a Biblical scholar, I expect you to object at this point. I can just hear you saying "I can point to all sorts of places in the Bible where people are referred to as evil."

I agree. Take a look at all the mentions of the word evil from Bible Gateway. Another term you could search is "wicked" as people are referred to as "wicked" in many instances throughout the Old Testament especially.

The way I explain the rampant usage of "wicked" is that people, in the old testament, were defined completely by their actions. If a person had evil actions, they were wicked. If they had good actions, they were good.

Just take a look at the definition of the Greek word for wicked and what it really means. It seems to me that a "rasha" is someone who is guilty of crime or deserving of punishment. This is not the same thing as an evil person as some English translations of the Bible state.

Today a person can be guilty of something, including sin, and not be evil. Everybody knows that good people can do good things. These people are "wicked" in the sense of the Greek word 'rasha' but not evil in the way that Romans 12:9 would define it.
I think that humans can be in a state of evil, or consumed by evil thoughts, yet not be evil. When Biblical characters are referred to as wicked, it means they are guilty of crime or deserving of punishment just as the definition states.

There is nobody too lost to save. Jesus washes our guilt away and gives us chance after chance to overcome the tendency to be 'rasha'. There may be evil intentions, evil activities, and evil objects; none of these can overpower the redemptive power of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Stop calling people evil. Stop letting other Christians call non-Christians evil. We are called to hate what is evil, yet love our enemies. Neither of those principles can be fulfilled if continuously throw other humans into the restrictive label we call evil.