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.
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.