How Much Evil Lives in a Five-Mile Radius of You?

I used to blame Lot.

Lot and his family needed to be rescued from Sodom and Gomorrah. These were evil cities. Evil. Gangs roamed the streets seeking victims to satisfy their desires. No one was safe. No one practiced hospitality or kindness or extended themselves to protect their neighbors.

But I blamed Lot for needing to be rescued.

Why did he live there? Why didn’t he move away? Why did he choose to raise a family in such a place?

Now, I understand.

Sodom and Gomorrah grow up around a person – slowly, steadily, like an IV-drip of arsenic and absinthe – evil spreads from neighborhood to neighborhood until – like an epidemic of swine flu – everyone is at risk and there just isn’t enough vaccine.

And if you try to move away from the city, evil snakes through cables and wires and enters your world like poisonous ivy through other means, other screens.

This week a little girl started home from school and ended up dead in a landfill. The police are busy interviewing the 161 registered sex offenders who live within a five-mile radius of her home. ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS within a five-mile radius! And that fact is NOT the headline?

I lead a training at my job – Child Abuse Prevention. It’s my job to convince employees that evil exists and that we need to be on the alert. It’s my job to describe predators, their tactics and their patterns. Inevitably, during every training, someone asks “Do you think there are really more predators these days or are we just talking about it more?”

I know there are more. And I know that tomorrow there will be more than there are today. Because evil perpetuates itself. It spreads. It multiplies. It spores – like fungus. It’s why God seems like such a tyrant about it. It’s why He sent the flood. It’s why He sent His Son. It’s why He’s coming again.

And what I don’t understand is how people think this life makes any sense at all outside the view presented in Scripture. The world was created good by a good God. We were created good but we chose evil. Evil entered the world and it spread from human to human like an airborne virus. It was an irreversible evil. An insatiable evil. An evil we couldn’t stop it ourselves. And suddenly, there were hundreds of registered sex offenders and we couldn’t even let our children walk home from school.

So He sent His only son, Jesus, to live here, to love here, to die here and to rise again to atone for our sins – to be the perfect sacrifice we couldn’t be for ourselves. And if we choose to accept this sacrifice on our behalf, then life doesn’t have to end here. We can spend this life serving Him, serving the needs of others and there will be more life for us on the other side.

And there will be a place, a coming day, where those who embrace evil will face Him without benefit of a mediator. And there will be no mercy for them because they refused mercy for themselves when they refused Jesus.

And now I know what happened to Lot because it’s happening to me – to my family – to my city and now, we are the ones who need to be rescued.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.” 2 Peter 2: 4-10

Seriously, one hundred and sixty one registered sex offenders in a five mile radius and that’s NOT the headline.

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    The Conversation

  1. Andrea says:

    I agree with you, totally! That should be the headline and there are definitely more predators of ALL kinds out there.
    Thank you for bringing awareness to child abuse and prevention. GOD BLESS YOU for doing your part to make our world a safer place.
    Blessings and prayers, andrea

  2. Vonnie says:

    Yes, we are living in scary times. We will be “rescued” soon by the Lord’s Return when He will rapture his church out of the world. We can see the day approaching fast.

    Thanks for the great post.
    (btw – I enjoyed reading about your “wall of trees” on Jerry Jenkin’s blog. Are you a member of CWG? Do you know about the CWForum?)

    Yvonne Blake

  3. Anonymous says:

    I, too, was shocked when I read the article and then your blog concerning that poor little girl. The evil that we know is so much worse than what we do not.
    I wonder why God did not protect this child, but she didn’t stand a chance with so much evil permeating through what should have been her safe neighborhood.
    As long as God has given us free will, innocence and purity must be ever vigilant because evil will always persue what is good and holy.

  4. Hello Andrea,
    I tell the people in my trainings “it takes a village to ignore a predator.” We are not entirely helpless. We can pay attention. We can be vigilant. We can be active in our communities and know our neighbors to a greater extent than we do. It means moving out of our comfort zones though (big time for me!)

  5. Hi Vonnie,
    Thanks for dropping in. I am with CWG – a Journeyman graduate! Thanks for commenting and for the compliment! God bless.

  6. Dear Anonymous,
    I believe God was with this girl in a way that most of us will never understand. Those who perpetuate evil and those who ignore it will one day stand in judgement. These are big questions and hard questions. We should be banging on heaven’s door every day for the answers.

  7. Karen says:

    We’re riding the same wave this week, Lori. I just posted a blog “Evil is God’s Megaphone” last night about this very same issue. I mentioned this same little girl as well as numerous other evil things topping the headlines right now.

    I wondered yesterday why God can’t just separate the evil people from the good – you know, just let the evil people have their way with each other and leave us good people alone.

    Of course, I came to the quick conclusion that that eliminates free will not to mention redemption — yes, even evil people can be redeemed. If you want to dig really deep in the Christian understanding of good and evil, pick up THE PROBLEM OF PAIN by C.S. Lewis.

  8. Cheri says:

    “Because evil perpetuates itself. It spreads. It multiplies. It spores – like fungus. It’s why God seems like such a tyrant about it. It’s why He sent the flood. It’s why He sent His Son. It’s why He’s coming again.”

    I love this sentence. So true. In a world gone completely mad, we watch for our Savior to come again, to take us from this evil place. But while we wait and watch, we also need to care; we need to be declaring God’s truth about sin and evil, and His plan of salvation, just as you are doing here.


  9. What clear presentation of the evil that pervades our culture today.

    I agree with you – I don’t understand why people don’t follow the scriptures. I guess the selfish pull is too much and we give in to sin.

    I also can’t understand why our own country – particularly the court system – is so lenient with child abusers. These kids are the most vulnerable of everyone, and our courts do so little to protect them.

    After reading a story about his poor little girl I followed a couple of links on other abuse stories. Three Americans were just arrested in Cambodia for buying children. They were called “Sex tourists.” All three men had prior convictions in America. One man had served 9 years for abusing 500 children. Only 9 years? How could he ever be allowed out to see the light of day again?

    As angry as I am at abusers, I am even more angry at judges, some lawyers and the polticians for allowing this rotten system to keep operating at the gutter level it is. How can anyone justify allowing a man to serve only 9 years for ruining the lives of so many children and their families? The judges are a bigger problem than the abusers is one sense.