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And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the...
March 10, 2016
“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” -Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel laureate

The world isn’t perfect, and no one’s life is without challenges. But the life stories of certain individuals offer a tremendous illustration of what can be accomplished when we put our trust in God, strive to do His will, and cling to faith no matter the obstacles.  

Andrew Spencer, in an article for The Institute for Faith, Work and Economics, draws from the life of Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn to illustrate how individuals can shape society in powerful ways even if they are not “power-wielding” figures.

Imagine experiencing the misery of totalitarian oppression: losing years of your life to a miscarriage of justice, facing the absurdity of a court system that had eliminated the question of guilt as a concern, and seeing otherwise good men and women do horrific evil to people just like themselves.
This is what Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn went through. 
Spencer presents several poignant notes from Solzhenitsyn’s book, Gulag Archipelago:

‘To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law… Thanks to ideology, the twentieth century was fated to experience evildoing on a scale calculated in the millions.’
The only way to counteract evil is for Christians to live faithfully and consistently with their beliefs in every area of life. The alternative? Total abandonment of God in society. Solzhenitsyn remarked on the West’s rejection of spiritual morality in his 1978 Harvard University commencement address:

‘Everything beyond physical well-being and accumulation of material goods, all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature, were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems, as if human life did not have any superior sense.

The West ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man’s sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer.’
Although Solzhenitsyn gives a bleak picture of the future of the secularized West, he also points out ways that Christians can provide solutions. Spencer explains:

According to Solzhenitsyn, Christians should live out the high calling of Christ … by consistent gospel-oriented living in the mundane realities of everyday life and the pursuit of justice.
It is fairly simple, in our democratic society, for every Christian to engage in gracious public activism for justice.
The Apostle Peter urges his readers to be zealous for what is good, to honor Christ in their hearts, and to be prepared to give a respectful defense of the hope drawn from knowing God through Christ. (1 Pt. 3:13-16). In a world seeking to suppress the notion of a spiritual basis for morality, gospel-powered daily living has the potential to change society and also change the hearts of the people around us.
Without Christ, our society has no hope. But Christ has rescued countless souls from despair, evil, and suffering, and He has the power to change the course of society today. Yet God chooses to work through believers; Christians are called to be Christ to the watching world and to courageously live out our beliefs. Therefore, to the extent that Christians are fervent and consistent in seeking God, living out their calling daily, and working to shape society, evil will be restrained and society blessed by God’s grace.


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