As Christian and helpers of people, we tend to have a hard time recognising the difference between an evil heart and an ordinary sinner, someone who messes up, who isn’t perfect, and full of weakness and sin.
However, I think one of the reasons we do not necessarily see evil is because we find it so difficult to believe that evil individual exists. We cannot imagine someone deceiving us with no conscience, hurting others with no remorse, spinning outrageous fabrications to ruin someone’s reputation, or pretending to be spiritually committed yet has no fear of God before his or her eyes.
But the Bible tells us that among God’s people, there are wolves that wear sheep’s clothing. Jeremiah 23:14 I have also seen in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they also strengthen the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.
Titus 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, especially they of the circumcision. It’s true that every human heart is, inclined toward sin. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. We all miss God’s mark of moral perfection. However, most ordinary sinners do not happily indulge evil urges, nor do we feel good about having them. We feel ashamed and guilty, rightly so.
So how do we identify evil hearts
1. They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, makeup stories, and withhold information. (Proverbs 6:13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers).
2. The evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words. But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
3. An evil hearts crave demand and control; their highest authority is their self-importance. They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules in which to live. They use Scripture to their advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance.
4. Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the I care card. They demand mercy but give none. They require warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends.
5. These evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse. They do not struggle against sin or evil; they delight in it all the while masquerading as someone of noble character.
Many Bible verses warn us about the evil heart that we need to be able to recognise. The book of Isaiah 32:6 For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.