Sure evil might exist…but not in me (Renovation of the Heart Chapter 3)

The examination Willard wants for us begins with a realization that we have real evil within us. As Willard begins chapter three, “We must see the soul and the person in its ruined condition, with its malformed and dysfunctional mind, feelings, body, and social relations, before we can understand that it must be delivered and reformed.”
We are all being spiritually formed. Some are in a constant state of spiritual deformation and others are being reformed and transformed.
The problem is that our age is not one that recognizes radical evil in the soul. Instead, our world relies on self-esteem as a way to falsely inflate the self. Rather than recognize radical evil in us, we deny it exists in our hearts. We say, ‘I am basically a good person.’ We look around at others and think we are better than they are. Evil is an idea used for Hitler or serial killers. As Willard says, “Denial – usually in the form of rationalization – is the primary device that humans use to deal with their own wrongness.” This denial of our own sin coupled with the inflation of the self only leads us to self-deception and ultimately to frustration and a deformed soul.
If we are going to recognize our own radical evil, we have to face the fact that at the center of our problem is “a heart that would make me God in place of God.” We want to be in charge and to rule over ourselves and do our own thing. This focus on self is a form of idolatry and it “rearranges the entire spiritual and moral landscape.”
The result of our orientation to self leads to judgment. Conceptually, no one chooses Hell. But Willard points out, “Their orientation toward self leads them to become the kind of person for whom away-from-God is the only place for which they are suited.”
The great problem for us (tragically both Christian and Non-Christian) is that they do not recognize this ruin. Willard says, “Few today have discovered that they have been disastrously wrong and that they cannot escape the consequences of it on their own.”


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