When good men do nothing, evil wins every time. In the endless battle between good and evil, it is seldom the numbers that determine the outcome of each skirmish. Many times, the side for the right has beaten overwhelming odds. More often than not, evil wins simply because the good men are not willing to stand up and fight for what they know is right.
When Good Men do Nothing, They Get Nothing Good Done
To be good, one must do good. They must do good, expecting nothing in return (Luke 6:35). We were created to do good works (Eph 2:10). Christ gave himself to gain a people zealous of good works (Tit 2:14).
In the parable of the one talent man he took what the Lord gave and hid it (Matt 25:18). He was condemned for returning only what his Lord gave (Matt 25:25). He did not do any outright evil. He did not steal the money. Neither did he do anything good with the money. Simply put, he did nothing at all (Matt 25:26).
The church at Sardis seemed to be alive, but it was dead (Rev 3:1). Too many churches and too many Christians do nothing. They are standing idly by. They are mere spectators, sitting on the sidelines instead of actively participating in the good work of the Lord. If good wins, they join in the celebration, though they did nothing to produce the victory. If evil wins, they complain long and loud, though their own apathy produced the undesirable result.
Learn from the parable of the fig tree. “Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, ‘Let no fruit grow on you ever again.’ Immediately the fig tree withered away” (Matt 21:18,19). What will the great Judge do with those who claim to be good and yet do nothing? Heed the warning of John, the baptizer. “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt 3:10). Jesus too, gives the same warning. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (Jn 15:1-2).
When Good Men do Nothing, Evil Triumphs
Evilness, sin, and sinful men must be opposed. God commands that the good are not to just avoid evil, but to actively oppose it. Christians are to have no fellowship with evil, but rather they are to reprove them. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph 5:11). Those who do nothing about sin and evil help sin and evil to prevail. When one is silent before the evil, we become a partaker with them (Ezek 3:18).
Elijah challenged the people to decide between God and the evil of Ahab and Jezebeel, yet the people remained silent (1 Kings 18:21).
In the parable of the good Samaritan, wicked men had robbed and beaten a man, leaving him half dead. The men who did this were very evil. The priest and the Levite, who passed on the other side (Luke 10:31-32) were willing to let evil triumph by not doing anything. Only the Samaritan stood up for what was right. In the fight against evil there is no middle ground, no gray area, no neutrality (Matt 12:30).
When Good Men do Nothing, They are no Longer Good
Too many have the mistaken notion that good is merely the absence of doing wrong. A person is not good merely because he has done no evil. A good person is one who is actively working for what is good (1 Pet 3:11). When we don’t do good, we are sinning. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (Jam 4:17).
There are Christians today who fail to face the real foe of error and fight the enemy. Instead, they turn inwardly upon their own brethren and brutally attack out of bitterness and hatred. Well did Paul warn about these spiritual cannibals: “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another” (Gal 5:15). Some in their envy of others will provoke Christians, taunting them to misstep so they may feel justified (Gal 5:26). While the actions of these Christians are shameful, what about those who stand by and do nothing? If you stand aside and do nothing while your brothers are being slandered, are you any better?
Conclusion: Those who fail to do the works of God are sowing dangerous seeds. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal 6:7). Do not allow evil to triumph by your inaction. Stand up and be counted. Speak up against evil, rebuke evil men and their wicked ways. These are those who are set for the defense of the gospel (Philip 1:15-17); Those who are ready to give an answer (1 Pet 3:15); Those who are prepared to prove all things (1 Thess 5:21); Those who contend for the faith (Jude 3). Put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:11-18) and fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12). If you are truly a Christian, it is your calling, it is your duty.