Tuesday, January 01, 2008

One Bad Act

For the past number of months, I've been working as a night auditor at a local hotel that's part of a national chain. Being a night auditor means that I work the graveyard shift, by the way. I don't like the hours, but it's gainful, respectable employment. (This is in addition to my teaching duties, too.)

New Year's Eve night, something happened at the hotel which reminded me of the power and influence of evil.

When I came on duty at 11:00 p.m., there were no reported problems and things went smoothly for the next several hours. Almost all of the guests I had contact with were pleasant and somewhat quiet, actually.

The occupants of one particular room, however, ruined or seriously marred the night for all of us by their actions. They were loud and disruptive to other guests, even after repeated warnings. Between 4 and 5 o'clock (in the morning, remember), one of them pulled a fire alarm on their floor. You can imagine how "excited" people were to have to leave the building (in 35 degree weather) at that time in the morning.

One stupid, and definitely sinful, act spoiled an otherwise nice evening for everyone. In the same way, one drunk driver can ruin the lives of an entire family who did absolutely nothing wrong. One person who has too much to drink at a party can ruin the experience for everyone. One or two obnoxious people can destroy the experience of going to a movie.

Why is that? Everyone else at the hotel last night was behaving themselves; the family was simply driving home from a ball game; the other party-goers have not consumed too much alcohol, if any; and the rest of the people in the theater just want to see a good movie - they even turned off their cellphones! Why? Because evil is powerful and its effects are more readily seen than the effects of good. It can take a lifetime to build a reputation and ten minutes to destroy it. Evil has an easier job in this fallen world than good.

When we realize this, it may cause some to despair. "What hope is there, then," they may say. We can have hope, though. Even though evil is powerful and pervasive, there is coming a day when all stupidity, sin, and evil will be judged fully and finally by the One who is far more powerful, far more pervasive, and far more influential than evil. Of course, that One is the true and living God - the Triune God of the Bible - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Evil may seem to have the upper hand now, but looks can be deceiving. May I remember that the next time the fire alarm goes off.


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