For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. -Titus 1:10 (NIV)

Sometimes, the best hiding place is right under your nose, in plain sight.

A book I’m reading, People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck (author of the watershed A Road Less Traveled), describes evil people, and they’re not necessarily behind bars. They may be sitting next to you in church, or working alongside you. And these people are not necessarily out to destroy others, but will do anything to maintain a favorable outward image while being destructive.

Five indicators of truly evil and wicked people

Just as this Crosswalk article describes in greater depth, five indicators of people with truly evil and wicked hearts are:

  1. Experts at creating confusion and contention, through distortion, denial, lying, and avoiding responsibility.
  2. Experts at fooling others with smooth speech and flattery, but their fruit is the real evidence of their hearts.
  3. They demand and crave control, and their own rules are the highest authority…only accountable to themselves, and selectively choosing bible passages that support them.
  4. They play on sympathies of the good-willed, demanding mercy but giving none. They have no empathy or desire to mend fences.
  5. They have no conscience or remorse. They don’t struggle against sin or evil, but wallow in it, while maintaining an outward facade of someone noble and upstanding.

We all fall short of God’s glory, but with the Spirit in our hearts, we can only sin so long before conviction hits us like a ton of bricks. With truly evil people, they are wolves in sheeps’ clothing, and the hate they are able to harbor rules out eternal life abiding in them (1 John 3:15).

As God’s children, we are called to spiritual warfare by facing up to evil and cast light on it. We are not here to shrink from the darkness, but to carry His light straight into the heart of darkness and drive it out!

Five indicators of true believers

By contrast, my pastor gave us this list of five indicators of true believers:

  1. They long for personal communion with God.
  2. They love God’s children.
  3. They love what God loves.
  4. They strive for obedience to the Lord.
  5. They long for Christ’s return.

Be careful

Take care not to hastily judge, of course. We all have sin in our hearts. It’s what we choose to do with it, and for whom we live, that is the differentiator. That difference comes from whether we’ve truly accepted Jesus into our hearts.

But if you see evil, act accordingly. Pray for them. Face it head on, and trust that God is with you–inside and out–and will make the best of whatever happens. All we do is for His glory!