Love these little guys. I remember hearing the statement that goes along with them, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” and honestly it confused me just a little. I mean, why would you do any of those things. Quite frankly, I never judged my actions as particularly evil. I considered myself a pretty decent person, as persons go… others well now… that is a different story!
As I have grown older, I have seen that there is evil at work as our devotion for the day points out on a cosmic, worldly and personal scale. But here is the deal, picturing it for our Photo-a-day devotional was a real toughy. You see there is a difference I think between evil and demonizing people and things.
Just look at the political discourse or lack thereof in our country today. Candidates are mean and nasty; they sin, and yes evil comes out in these ways, but they themselves are not any more or less evil than the other candidate. So to picture them or judge them in such a way is often not helpful. True evil is not easy to pick out, it is sneaky, it is deceptive it is… well, it is evil. In fact, much of what parades as justice, and good can also be evil if it does not have mercy, and care for the other in mind.
Evil can not be combated by taking pot shots at people, by stereotyping them, by dehumanizing them. But that is what we do often because we are convinced we are right and they, whoever they are, must be evil. We concoct conspiracies we call names, we make absurd generalizations and accusations. The other in this case becomes “pure concentrated evil.”
Even if you are right, where does that leave you. Evil can only be confronted by love, and that my friends take work, it takes effort, and you can not keep your ears sealed, your eyes closed and your mouth covered. What you need is the light of Christ, to guide you into places where the love of God in Christ can confront the evil, and bring the good for all. As our devotions point out in our Baptismal liturgy, we have a threefold renunciation of evil. You will note individuals are not called out here. In fact, we call parents, sponsors and if they are old enough the baptized to repent, or to renounce the evil, not people. This can only be done if the good has been shown to them and grown in them if you write off people as evil rather than sinful, you write off God’s creative and redeeming work and the justice and good that is still alive and well in our world. In closing I am leaving you with the prayer, we had in our devotions today… it’s a good one.
God of all grace, there is evil in the world, and there is even evil in me. I pray that you will make me an instrument of your peace so that through me evil may be faced and love may be shared. In your grace-filled name I pray. Amen