It’s OK to Call Evil ‘Evil.’

It’s OK to Call Evil ‘Evil.’

I highly recommend that you read my friend Ellen Painter Dollar’s recent post on disability and goodness.

It’s called”Do I Hate My Life? No. But I Do Hate My Disability.”

In the post, Ellen dismantles some of the cultural (and, specifically, Christian-cultural) myths about suffering generally and disabilities specifically.

Sometimes I feel troubled by the way certain theologies–including ones I once held–try to insist that ‘whatever happens’ is good and God-intended and meant to be received with gratitude. This world is full of evil and brokenness, and I think God desires that we struggle against those things as we participate in God’s efforts to make all things new. Death is a bad thing. (See my CT post on why a funeral is not the time to rejoice.)

Ellen writes:

OI [the genetic disorder Ellen and I share] is an example of the world’s brokenness. I have come to believe that illness, disability, and disease are neither fundamentally good things disguised as bad (thus not the intentional work of a loving God who works in mysterious ways) nor value-neutral manifestations of human diversity. Illness, disability, and disease are, quite simply, the result of life in a world that does not work as God intended.


I believe it’s permissible for me to hate OI with that perfect hatred for the things of this world that are broken, fallen, not of God. God designed bones to shore us up and protect our tender bodies from all that would assault them. Bones are not supposed to crack under the weight of a laptop computer. They are not supposed to snap when a little girl is simply dancing in her living room. A routine fall from a scooter should not land a child in the emergency room with multiple fractures. Forty-something-year-old knees should not be completely stripped of their cartilage. No matter how much good (wisdom, love, understanding, compassion) comes out of living with this capricious disorder, the disorder itself is not good.

Read the rest here.

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About Rachel Stone

I write about food, family, faith, justice, and joy at my blog, on Christianity Today's website, and elsewhere, including at Books & Culture, Sojourners, and Relevant. My book, Eat With Joy: Redeeming God's Gift of Food, is forthcoming from @IVPress in early 2013, and, with my family, will soon be living and working in Zomba, Malawi, as Presbyterian (USA) mission co-workers. Follow me @eatwithjoy on Twitter or "like" us on FB (see sidebar.) All views are my own and should not be taken as official positions from any of the above organizations.

2 Responses »

  1. This is an interesting post to me, both yours and hers, that is. On the one hand, I find it a relief for someone to say this – it’s okay to hate your disability. During the day, when my various disabilities cause me some difficulty as I try to do some basic function, I often find myself saying “I hate you.” I don’t think I am talking to myself, or to God, but to my disability. There’s a sense of relief to hear others say they, too, hate their disabilities. Yet, on the other hand, in my own life, at least, as I’ve allowed myself more and more to say out loud, or in my thoughts “I hate you” to my disability, I also see a danger of slipping into anger and bitterness toward the God who has allowed this disability in my life. We have to be careful that while we hate something that is evidence that sin has affected this world and twisted it from God’s original perfect creation, that we don’t let this lead to a sinful perspective toward God. Of course neither you nor Ellen has suggested that would be okay. But this is something that I personally struggle with as I grow older and my disability seems more of a burden than it once did.

    I thought perhaps Ellen would also address the well-meaning people who say “I’ll pray for God to heal you,” and go on about how He can do miracles if we have faith enough. This is not only insulting of my level of faith, but sadly, ignores the fact that God doesn’t promise physical healing to all, and more often His word warns us that suffering will be a part of life.

  2. Rachel, I’ve really appreciated the way that Ellen has been engaging this subject over the past two articles. Her arc is giving me good insights inot what she and her family have experienced. And I agree completely with your thesis here: It’s OK to call Evil “Evil.” Sure is, since the Bible does it all over the place!


    P.S. New post over at Keri Wyatt Kent’s today about my wife and The Avengers: // Woo hoo!

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