Thoughts for the Day

Monday, 22nd January 2024: Good and evil

Scribes Good Evil Mark 3 Satan Jesus

Reading : Verses from Mark, Chapter 3

Jesus and the Scribes

And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’ — for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


As Christians if we accept the presence of goodness as found in Jesus Christ, then we must also accept its opposite, the presence of evil. We may not call the latter by the name 'Satan' and we may want to call those who believe they are possessed, mentally ill. We say in the Lord's prayer, "Deliver us from evil", and the Church of England (and many other denominations) has a 'Deliverance ministry'. Each Diocese has a priest responsible for working alongside health practitioners with those who are spiritually distressed. The book of 'Common Worship' also provides Prayers for Protection and Peace in the context of wholeness and heal­ing, and the ancient and beautiful prayers reflect the Church's acknowledgment, of the presence of evil. The prayers call for protection and deliverance “from the wrath of evildoers, from the assaults of evil spirits, from foes visible and invisible, from the snares of the devil, from all passions that beguile the soul and body”.

Our Lord was attacked in today's reading by those who could not distinguish between good and evil. This, then, is the evil that cannot be forgiven, to think that Jesus was not a source of goodness, and that the Holy Spirit was not the power source of a loving and perfect God.

If you are ever troubled by evil thoughts, you might think of this analogy: Imagine a small toddler learning to walk, they constantly fall down, and a good parent will encourage them to get up and try again, using gentle words. We are like children learning to walk! We fall down, that is we get into dangerous spiritual situations, but Jesus encourages us to get up. So keep your eyes on an image of Jesus and listen to what that gentle voice might be saying as you move towards those loving arms. Our whole life is a repetition of standing up again and walking a step or two forward towards the love that waits at our journey's end.


Jesus Christ,
when I am down and caught in the dark,
feeling as if all the light has disappeared
from my life,
speak peace to my soul,
and encourage me forward once more,
so that I can try once again
to reach the source of all love.

Follow Up Thoughts

Here are some prayers for spiritual and physical protection:

Or listen to these two modern songs:

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