Breaking Bad is one of my favorite shows ever. It’s about a high school chemistry teacher, Walt, becoming a meth cook with a former chemistry student, Jesse, in order to provide for his family after Walt discovers that he has cancer. Walt’s choices affect everyone around him—especially his DEA agent brother-in-law, Hank—and the show spends five seasons building a throbbing climax until Walt’s empire of drugs, murder, and lies rapidly crumbles around him. One of my favorite scenes comes towards the end of the series. Jesse has just found out that Walt manipulated him for the thousandth time and hurt someone Jesse loves. In an intensely emotional scene, Jesse stumbles furiously around Walt’s house splashing a can of gas to burn it down. “He can’t keep getting away with it,” he screams through tears. “He can’t keep getting away with it!”
Jesse’s voice is our own when confronted with pure evil, like Walt. According to massshootingtracker.org, there have been 277 mass shootings in America in 2016 alone. Some have been motivated by race, others by orientation, and still others by beliefs. The ISIS scare reached a climax in February 2015 when 21 Christians were beheaded for their faith. In 2014, it was estimated that the underground sex economy, including underage sex trafficking, ranged from $39.9 million in Denver, CO, to $290 million in Atlanta, GA. This world is broken; this world is evil. They can’t keep getting away with it.
It’s easy to lose sight of hope in a world overflowing with evil. Evil runs wild while God seemingly sits back and does nothing. When will evil have to answer for itself? When will they stop getting away with it?
Truthfully, in a non-Christian worldview, never. Evil people may be tried, prosecuted, put behind bars, or legally executed, but evil itself still walks away unscathed. Evil isn’t controlled by death, it’s life does not end at the grave. Evil prevails and continues through the next Hitler, the next mass murderer, and the next trigger-crazed killer. We’re our own judge, jury, and executioner, but we can only do so much. In a non-Christian worldview, evil is king. In Breaking Bad, Walt’s egotistical God-complex is completely revealed in a confrontation with other meth lords. “You know who I am,” he tells them. “Say my name. Say it!” Evil believes it’s king.
But Christians submit to another king: Jesus. And Jesus has already declared that evil is one day not going to get away with it. From Genesis 3 with the promise of a serpent-crusher to Revelation 22’s promise “for the healing of the nations,” the entire biblical story has already declared an answer for rampant evil. Christians have steadfast hope in a coming kingdom that will remove the curse of sin and evil. At the end of days, every single person who ever lived will stand before their Creator and give account for their actions (Matt. 12:36). Those who placed their faith in Jesus’ crucified work on their behalf instead of their own works will be ushered into a kingdom without suffering, where God the Father Himself will wipe away our tears, and where death and pain will be no more (Rev. 21:4). But those who placed their faith in their own righteousness will be led away to the second death, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, where evil still exists. C.S. Lewis, in The Problem of Pain, writes, “If tribulation is a necessary element in redemption, we must anticipate that it will never cease till God sees the world to be either redeemed or no further redeemable.” Dear, Jesse, hold onto the hope that Walt will one day be prosecuted. Dear, Christian, hold onto the promise that evil won’t keep getting away with it.
Christians live for a king who didn’t just promise to do something about evil in the future, but He also promised to do something about evil now. In John 11, we see a beautiful story of Jesus overcome with grief for the death of his friend Lazarus. Jesus weeps. In the present suffering we face, we know that Jesus isn’t sitting up in heaven twiddling his thumbs. No, Jesus weeps with us in our pain, comforts us in our loneliness, and holds us in our suffering. Jesus is both doing something about evil now and He’s promised to do something about evil in the future. C.S. Lewis continues, “Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.” Journey home.
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