Google’s corporate motto is “don’t be evil”. Given the widely shared perception that most corporations are just that, Google’s PR Director must be a genius (or recently hired).
“Don’t be evil” is the message of Jeremiah 18. “Well, no, (huff huff), of course not!” we reply. Yet might there be evil lurking deep in our hearts – evil that has been there so long that we no longer even take notice?
This chapter provides an easy way for us to make a self-diagnosis: evil manifests itself as stubbornness; stubbornness manifests itself as an independent spirit; an independent spirit manifests itself as a refusal to repent.
Yet note that what is really at the source of all of this is … ‘evil’. Let me now trace this back in my own heart. Am I one that thinks the notion of repentance is either silly or doesn’t apply to me? If so, am I one that prefers to set my own course? If so, is my independent spirit due to stubbornness? If so, is my stubbornness in fact due to evil that I’m allowing to reside deep in my heart?
Neither individuals nor nations can afford to harbor such evil, for it leads to inevitable destruction. Yet the individual or nation that repents makes itself malleable once again in the potters’ hands. Such clay can be made profoundly useful and beautiful in an instant. Hope then remains: just don’t be evil.