Yetzer Hara: when Our Love Goes Bad

Yetzer Hara: when Our Love Goes Bad August 5, 2023

This week the media has been focused on the latest indictment of former president Donald Trump.  I am not debating politics, but looking deeper at the spiritual battle that is occurring both in our country and around the world.

As we have all seen in the last few years, it is possible to be so passionate about something or our beliefs that we can become blinded to the truth. Passion can be good or bad. We must each learn to keep our passions and priorities in order.

My Christian faith is the lens I view life through. My convictions are listed in order below.

  • God
  • Others
  • Self

In the New Testament Jesus was confronted by an expert Pharisee about the greatest command of God. Jesus quoted the Jewish law about how God had ordained things in His kingdom (Matthew 22:34-40).


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These are fundamental Jewish teachings; young boys would know them to live a godly life and to distinguish between good and evil.

Good and Evil

Since the days of Adam, there has been an age-old battle between good and evil. The two are moral, spiritual, and cultural opposites. Our Jewish stepfathers stressed the importance of knowing the difference because God’s people are called to be different.

In Judaism this battle between good and evil is called Yetzer Hara, this is the inclination of a man to do evil and violate the will of God. God’s will and creation are good, even if we don’t like them.

The idea is evil and good cannot coexist. God’s people are called to do what is right and do good.


As summer comes to an end, I have been spending more and more time outside biking. I am a nature and biking enthusiast. The outdoors is my happy place.

In the Torah Moses describes how God created the earth and the heavens, then God called His creation good (Genesis 1:1-31). Everything was good until sin entered the world; then all creation became tainted.

Since then there has been a constant fight between good and evil, God’s way or our way. If we pay attention, we can see this battle in creation, our culture, politics, and even in our own lives and hearts.

Good Vs. Evil
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But, good must prevail.  Remember, our Jewish stepfathers faced the same battle. The Old Testament lists Jewish kings who did good and walked with God.

  1. King Asa
  2. King Jehoshaphat
  3. King Joash
  4. King Azariah
  5. King Jotham
  6. King Hezekiah
  7. King Josiah

These were the kings who did good in the eyes of God, unfortunately, there were more kings who did evil in the eyes of God, because they made bad choices.

Bad Choices

Due to our fallen nature, we are prone to make bad choices in life, even evil ones. In Judaism there were more kings who did evil in God’s sight; even some of the great heroes of Judaism made bad choices.

Moses disobeyed God and struck the rock. King Saul became prideful and disobeyed God. King David lusted after a woman and had her husband murdered to cover his sin. He spent the rest of his life lamenting over his poor choices.

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Israel themselves notoriously prostituted themselves to the gods of this world. The prophet Hosea prophesied against them and pleaded with them to do the right thing and return to God (Hosea 14:1-3).


Do The Right Thing

One of Jesus’ charges against the Pharisees was, although they knew the law, they didn’t practice it (Matthew 23:1-20). Jesus also taught His Disciples about bearing good and bad fruit, in this analogy Jesus is referencing the fall in the garden, when the first Adam bore bad fruit by disobeying God(Matthew 7:18-19).

Believers are called to bear good fruit; we must do the right thing even when it hurts. The fruit we bear is for God’s kingdom, not our selfish desires. Unfortunately, we tend to focus more on what we want; things that may not be bad themselves, but become bad if we aren’t seeking God’s will.

Martin out biking
Image by Martin Thomas Johnson







We’ve all fallen short of God’s will and sought our own desire at some point. Below are a few things I have focused on too much in the past.

  • Biking
  • My health
  • My wealth
  • My dreams

God made everything good in the beginning, but mankind’s desire for more is evil. We can easily fall into the same trap as Adam and Cain if we aren’t careful. We must seek God’s will for everything in our lives, or else our love can become bad, we must distinguish between good and evil.



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