Billy Graham said, “Man without God is a contradiction, a paradox, a monstrosity. He sees evil as good and good as evil. That is why some people love evil and hate that which is good—they are still in their sins.” The Bible says through Isaiah the prophet: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Is 5:20)
Humanity has always been deceived into calling evil good. Modern social righteousness often differs from the righteousness of the Bible. Someone erroneously said: “A wrong deed is right if the majority of people declare it not to be wrong.” By this principle we can see our standards shifting from year to year according to the popular vote! God has not changed. His standards have not been lowered. God still calls immorality a sin, and the Bible says God is going to judge it (2 Cor 5:10).
We lie to ourselves trying to justify “white” lies, which calls evil good. God is clear and hasn’t changed His standard from the Old Testament to the New; we aren’t to lie. “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
Self-centeredness is another reason we are so inclined to call evil good. When something brings profit or pleasure to us, we are inclined to call it good, even if we know it is dead wrong. If we could only focus our eyes outward instead of inward and heed the words of Jesus: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt 6:33). In our selfishness, we think of God as we think of everyone else—in terms of what He can contribute to us personally.
Through rationalization we find it easy to call evil good. How easy has it become to place blame on others, circumstances or fate? Our Lord is impatient with our tendency to rationalize our evil and call it good. When we go before the Lord, we will have no ability to rationalize or defend; only the evidence of our actions and words. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” (Matt 12:36)
How can we get our values straightened out? How can our warped judgment be brought into line? How can we stop calling evil good? The Bible says that we possess a sinful nature that wars against us (Rom 3:23), that seeks to destroy us (Gal 5:19-21). Sin is why Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection was necessary. Christ died on the cross to make us one with Him—dead to sin and alive to righteousness.
We must recognize our need for a Savior: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23) We are promised “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way we are able to receive His righteousness. In His righteousness, sin will no longer hold any power over us, and therefore we won’t be deceived into believing and saying that evil is good. “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Ps 107:1)