What Evil Looks Like


Although Scripture says that evil can destroy a marriage, pause before making a determination that your spouse is evil-willed.

Scripture clearly attests that we live in a fallen world in which some people choose the dark side. David describes the wicked person like this: “Even as he lies in bed he makes evil plans.  He commits himself to a sinful way of life.  He never says no to what is wrong” (NIVR).”  The Proverbs also speak of evil people and their premeditations:  “He who plans to do evil, men will call him a schemer” (Proverbs 24:8), and still worse, “Evil plans are an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 15:26).

Scripture also points to how evil will destroys a marriage.  

A husband can love his mate, but deep within her soul she turns her heart against what is good.  She becomes an adulterous wayward wife with seductive words “…who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God” (see Proverbs 2:16-17).

And in Malachi 2:13-14, the prophet tells wayward men that God no longer honors their offerings, and instead He is “…acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant” (NIV). I get a lot of mail from spouses who have been the victims of evil treatment by their partners.  These partners made a decision to no longer act in good will.

You may be one of the victims of what appears to be “evil will” by your spouse.  I do not know your situation, so I have no way of knowing if you are totally accurate in your assessment and your spouse does indeed have an evil will toward you.  What I do know, however, is that it is a serious thing. (See Matthew 26: 74, John chapter 21).

To repeat, when a spouse fails to do good and does bad, this does not automatically mean a spouse lacks good will.  Don’t conclude your spouse is evil willed until you have honestly looked at what you did prior to your conclusion.  

Your spouse may be reacting to what you did that violated them at the core of their being and so they reacted in a way that violated you. A spouse’s evil act (anything from thoughtless harsh or cruel words to committing adultery) can put a couple on the Crazy Cycle. When your spouse gets mean or nasty it is easy to label him (or her) evil willed.  Granted, you may not use the term “evil will” but at the moment you are certainly not experiencing good will and your natural inclination is to react unloving or disrespectfully. But if you are trying to live out Love and Respect, your spouse’s temporary feistiness, nastiness, or selfishness must be distinguished from evil character.

Why do I caution people to withhold judgment of another as evil willed?  Once you profile another as evil willed, there is little hope of reconciliation.  

Once impugning the motives of another, intimacy with that person will disappear.  

You will no longer be allies, but enemies.  

For all practical purposes the relationship is over.  However, this is not to minimize evil!  I am not seeking to call evil good, but as in all things, we must be careful to look at the facts and not rush to judgment.

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