Read Matthew 5:44-48; 7:1-5; Luke 6:27-38
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13)
It seems like every time we turn on the news anymore we are bombarded with two types of images. The first image that we are constantly seeing is that of “heroism”. Our society just loves to find stories of people doing courageous things. We are constantly seeking out the heroes that are among us, looking for those who will come in and save the day. Heroes fascinate us so much that there are film studios, such as Marvel, established just for the purpose of making superhero movies.
On the flip side, the image of evil bombards us all the time. It is so easy for us to get enraptured in that image. In fact, evil fascinates us just as much, if not even more than images heroism. Horror movies, depicting evil at its extreme are a multi-billion dollar industry throughout the world. Real life events such as 9/11 and the recent school shooting in Newtown, CT, are seen as to be acts of evil committed by the faces of evil. How often do we turn on the news and see someone’s mug shot on the screen with the words evil posted somewhere around it?
Doesn’t it make sense, though, to label horrific acts of violence as being evil? Doesn’t it make sense to see people like Hitler, Stalin, terrorists and other violent groups of people as being evil? If they are not evil, what are they? We certainly cannot call them good can we? It would be a far cry to raise such people up as being heroes or saints. If we are going to call them anything, evil seems to be the only word that can possibly describe them.
Yet, what is evil? Is it merely heinous acts of violence committed by people against others? And how is it that we always find ourselves looking at evil as if it is distant from us, as if we are on the opposite side of evil and can determine where and what it is? I have yet to hear someone determine themselves, or their viewpoints as being evil. Evil is almost exclusively something that the “other” is. “We” are never evil, whereas “they” often are.
The point is not to state that violent acts are not evil, or that people don’t do evil things. Clearly evil exists and we do witness the awful effects of its existence; however, it is important to point out that we are not to be the judges of what is evil and what isn’t. God did not set us up to be the judge and jury of who’s evil and who’s a hero; rather, God has called us to reverse E-V-I-L and L-I-V-E out the reality of God’s presence in the world. In other words, we are to be the presence of God…the presence of unconditional love…in this world.
When Jesus said that we are to LOVE our enemies, he wasn’t kidding. When Jesus said we are supposed to pray for those who persecute us, he wasn’t being facetious. There were lots of people Jesus could have pointed the finger at and called evil; however, he never did. Instead, he prayed for those who attacked and accused him. He shared communion with the ones (his own disciples) who would abandon and betray him. He petitioned God to forgive the ones who nailed him to the cross. To play God and set ourselves up as the judge and jury is an act of evil as well, because it reverses how God wanted us to LIVE. When we LIVE the way God wants us to, we are actively working to reverse EVIL. Just remember that EVIL is LIVE spelled backwards and you will remember that to LIVE as God intended us to LIVE is to reverse EVIL. How did God intend us to live…in LOVE!
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Lord, help me to reverse evil by living out your Gospel in my life and the lives of those around me. Amen.