Encourntering Evil

So I have been thinking about doing this post for months but have resisted.  Last Christmas I picked up a copy of M. Scott Peck’s People of the Lie, and devoured it.  Since a developing incident last October, I’ve had a hunger to investigate the subtlety of what one could call “evil.”  I think as a child I grew up with a cartoon version of what that may be, but as I’ve grown up the image of what “evil” is now appears more subtle or shall I say tricky.  It’s not just simply identified by a set of horns and a pitch-fork.

If goodness is about giving up your agenda for another, then evil is about keeping it no matter who or what it hurts.  If kindness is about being generous and giving with no motive for reciprocation, then evil is about getting, keeping, hording, and not surrendering anything .  If love is about giving your life up for another, than evil is about keeping it at the cost of some others life.

With all the little paintings I’ve done as of late I needed to at least include a couple in this post.  I staffed a men’s weekend last Fall, and on it met a man of whom I did a sketch of which this painting is based on.  He wore one of those puffy jackets and had a dead flat look the entire time. I entitled this piece “Barricade” because with his jacket (looking like sand bags) and his demeanor, that’s exactly how he came across.  He didn’t stay for long, in my assessment, not wanting to face himself or his demons with any sense of candor. Was he evil?  I’m not sure that is mine to conclude…

I found Peck’s People of the Lie for me to be an act of naming a spade a spade.  You may be like me and tend to think the best of others and then are blindsided when hurt by them, or when they do things that are, well, bad.  Peck helped give me the freedom to name things, events that have happened and yes, in some cases people as “evil.” In the sense that they have believed in falsehood so much it has become, or became their lifestyle and identity in total.  There is freedom in the truth, yet some may so run from the truth so far they may become anything but what is good, right, and true.  I think of C.S. Lewis’s Great Divorce, where the houses get further and further away from one-another as people don’t want to face the issues they have with their fellow sojourners, everyone rather establish their own little fiefdoms, far, far away from anyone.

I wish I could put a nice conclusion and pretty bow on this topic, but this is one I think we all have to face throughout our lives in its various ugly guises and iterations.  As we name and confront OUR sins of omission, and commission, may we have grace with our selves to surrender to a God that can take care of things, so we may be truly who we are called to be.

Blessings- Tim

The concept for this piece (Quell) was a little wooden figure attempting to put out a fire about him. Perhaps that is how we feel often when encountering “evil,” be it in the large scale as a war, or public shooting, or in the small encounters we have in our day-to-day life.

About abiggerworldyet

Visual Artist Brother Sojourner College Professor Christ follower
This entry was posted in Men's Work and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Encourntering Evil

  1. Tim,

    This subject has captivated me too. So much so that it led me to spend over a year putting together a series on topics related to it. I think you’d find it very interesting and it might connect even more of the dots for you. If you check it out let me know what you think. It’s really long but hopefully worthwhile.

  2. lomagirl says:

    I’ve never thought of contrasting evil to love as opposites. That works, I think, except that Love is much more powerful than evil so it’s not a 1:1 ratio.
    (I’m catching up on your blog- can you tell?)

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