by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 14 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Justice)

Evil is not the same as sin in the Bible. Evil is always sin, but sin is not always evil. The two words are never the same and are not interchangeable. "Sin" means "to miss the mark." "Evil" is "to use sin to injure." Sin is an individual act of doing wrong. Evil is an alliance to bring harm upon another individual.

Smoking a cigarette is sin, but the involvement of promoting or selling cigarettes is evil because it is a system that brings harm to someone else. If you drink liquor, it is a sin; but if you sell liquor, it is evil.

Sin is what destroys you. Evil is when you join someone to destroy someone else. Sin is what injures you. Evil is when you join some one to injure another. No Christian should ever desire to injure anybody. We should never enter into an alliance of people with the purpose of injuring someone else.

Sin is criticizing someone. Evil is joining in an alliance to slander or hurt someone. Let's look at some examples in the Bible.

Nehemiah 6:12-14, "And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me. My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear."

God's people were back in Jerusalem rebuilding the wall around the city. Two men, Tobiah and Sanballat, decided to hinder their progress, so they formed a system of opposition. That was evil because they formed an alliance to damage the people of God. They used every method they could to discourage the building of the wall. It is evil when people campaign to destroy anyone for any reason. Evil is worse than sin!

Genesis 37:1,2, "And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.

Genesis 37:17-19, "And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. And when they saw him afar off even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer comet h."

Joseph's brothers conspired against him to kill him. The Bible calls that an evil report. It is bad to drink liquor, but it is worse to sell it. It's a horrible sin to give yourself to an alliance that is committed to injuring anyone.

Acts 14:1, 2 'And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.

Here again we see a conspiracy to injure someone. The unbelieving Jews formed an alliance to hurt Paul and the others who were preaching the Gospel. The Bible calls it evil whenever we join in an effort to injure someone for any reason. Our job is not to tear down, but to build up, even if someone is trying to tear us down. It is wrong to try to tear down someone, even if you know bad about him. The Lord told us to pray that God would "deliver us from evil." He was instructing us to pray that God would prevent us from seeking to hurt someone else. God never wants His children to be involved in evil or in attempts to hurt others.

The Bible says that in the end-time there would be an increase in evil. II Timothy 3:12, 13, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."

All of those who attempt to live godly lives will suffer conspiratorial persecution at the hands of evil men. Never in my entire ministry have I seen that to be more true than it is right now. Soul-winning pastors all across America are under vicious attacks by people trying to destroy them and their ministries. It is always done to soul-winning preachers. The Bible tells us that it shall happen. All across America the Devil is forming alliances of evil people who are committed to the destruction of godly Christians who do good.

During the greatest days of soul winning in the history of First Baptist Church the Devil launched the most vicious attacks on our church and people. One of our people can be falsely accused of something, and it is spread all across America; yet, we saw 5,000 people saved on one Sunday, and hardly anyone talked about it! Why? Because evil men "wax worse and worse." James 3:8, "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." The Bible does not call the tongue sinful. The Bible calls the tongue "evil, full of poison." When a person decides to join a conspiracy to hurt someone, he is doing evil. Are you using your tongue for evil? Evil men always do their work in groups so they can hide behind the group to spread their poison. They rise up to judge someone who, they feel, is doing something wrong; yet the Bible tells us that we are to lift up the fallen, not conspire against them!

Sin happens to all of us. We fall into sin and do damage to Ourselves. Evil is planned and carefully constructed. Evil people purposely damage others.

What are we to do to avoid joining an evil alliance? Proverbs 4:14, "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men." The Bible says that we are not to even associate with them. That means we should totally avoid those who are seeking to injure another individual, even if they do not do it in your presence. Do not be with them!

I was driving down the street in a city in Maryland one day and was moved by something I saw at the side of the road. There were two would-be houses side by side. One had obviously once been a home, but had been destroyed by fire. The other was a mere foundation of a house that had never been finished. I saw a beautiful lesson in that sight. The house that had been burned once fulfilled the purpose for which it was created. Yes, it has burned and was no longer useful, but at least for a while it had served its intended purpose. The foundation of the other had never been burned and scarred by fire; yet, it also had never enjoyed a moment of usefulness. I would rather be a house that was useful for a little while than to be a house that was never useful.

Too many Christians who have never done much for God are critical of those who fell from a life of usefulness into a life of sin. Most evildoers are self-righteous critics of people who at least tried to serve God. Why don't we help our fallen rather than participate in their destruction? Christians ought never to criticize another Christian for any reason. Let's form alliances to lift the fallen, not to criticize them. Stay away from people who seek to destroy others.

Jesus was a friend of sinners, but rebuked those who accused others. That is what all of us should do. We should lift up the fallen sinner and flee from those who seek to do damage to anyone.

What does the Bible say to do if someone is trying to do evil to us? Romans 12:21, 'Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Just keep doing good! Stay on the course of doing good just like Jesus did. The best defense against evil accusations is to keep on serving the Lord and helping others. I have never helped myself by answering the accusations of my critics, but my ministry of doing good has been my defense. God has kept on blessing my efforts to reach the lost and help the hurting. That will be your best defense as well!

When evil men conspire to hurt you, just keep doing good. Do not allow them to draw you into the wrong fight. Just overcome their evil with good. Do not seek revenge. Seek the lost. Fallen sinners do not know your hurt. They just need someone who will help them and love them. They do not care what people are saying about you; they need your help!

Nehemiah just kept on doing good. Joseph just kept on doing good and even provided food for his brothers. The Apostle Paul just kept on doing good in spreading the Gospel of salvation. That is what this hurting world needs us to do. Just keep on doing good. Let others do their evil. Do not join them even to fight them. Overcome their evil with good.


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I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years. Billy Sunday