Some may think that delighting in evil is simply taking pleasure when they see their enemies get what they deserve. That would be justice. However, when we walk in the way of love, we are called to take up God’s definition of justice. Did God treat us the way that we deserved? As Romans 5:8 demonstrates, Christ died for us when we did not deserve to be rescued. God’s justice, although it doesn’t make sense to us, is what has saved us. That justice should guide us through our lives as we deal with other people, especially our spouses.
Paul warns us against “delighting in evil.” He uses the Greek word adikia, which properly means “the opposite of justice.” Although injustice runs rampant in our culture, and it’s important to fight against that injustice, Christians should be concerned about the justice of God, doing things His way. Delighting in evil is the opposite of rejoicing with the truth (see Romans 1:18). If unrighteousness (adikia) and righteousness (dikaios) were to have a soccer tournament live on television, we should be rooting for dikaios.
I love words, but what do those words mean in plain English? What does this idea of rooting for righteousness look like in marriage?
My dear friend encouraged me in this season to pick one verse that would bring me through this difficult season of stepping out in faith and trusting God. During this time, my husband and I have treasured Jesus’ promise from the Sermon on the Mount: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Righteousness should be our priority, not just in our marriage, but in every aspect of our lives. The context of this passage is that Jesus encourages His disciples not to worry about any necessity. God will supply everything that we need, if we put our focus on Him first. We rejoice knowing that God is in control, because there is no way we could do what we are doing without His strength and guidance in our lives.
It is easy to delight in evil on a daily basis, from YouTube videos that are insulting but funny (so you have to share it on Facebook), to spending quality time gossiping with your best friend about that co-worker you can’t stand. We have been deceived into believing that connecting with people is more important than godliness. Nobody’s perfect, but if God isn’t first in our lives, we can create a community in the name of godliness that looks nothing like how God intended community to be.
“Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me” (Matthew 12:30, NLT). Jesus uses these words to justify why he is not of Satan, because he drives out demons. He makes a clear divide between God and Satan, between good and evil, between righteousness and unrighteousness.
Whose side are you on? Would your answer be reflected in what gives you pleasure?
As Christians, we should rejoice with the truth, the righteousness of God. We know this truth by allowing ourselves to be sanctified by God’s word (John 17:17). We know this truth by walking with Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). When we make a daily habit of reading God’s word and allowing Jesus to guide our steps, we can trust the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (John 16:13).
In your marriage, take time to pray with each other, read Scripture together, and invite the Holy Spirit to lead you as a couple. As you interact with each other, God will lead you to make wise choices and to stay away from things that are unrighteous.
“Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.”-Micah 7:18
God delights in showing mercy to His people. That is what His justice looks like. In what is your delight?