“for what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst? verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.” - kahlil gibran
evil is an illusion. by that I do not mean that evil is not a reality in our world. illusions are real, though they are not true. an example - i am lost in the desert and see a mirage; the mirage is real yet the reality I perceive is not true. evil is essentially a lie, that is something not true - an illusion. sin is believing the lie and what follows naturally from that belief is living in the lie. the lie is that there is no God, no purpose, no hope - life is only futility. once we start to believe the lie fear takes over. thus pride comes, the first born of fear, and the progenitor of all that is oppressive and divisive in our world; “i" becomes the center of the universe from which all greed and malice flows from the human heart and infects the world.
let me give a more concrete historical example of what i mean. apartheid was the policy of the south african government for decades. apartheid was based on a lie, that is the lie that one race is superior to another. that one lie gave birth to a whole system of oppression and violence. evil replaced the truth with a lie and that illusion created a very real world of suffering.
essentially evil is the lie that tells us we are not good, not worthy of human dignity or respect. “and God saw everything that was created, and behold it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) or in the words of Desmond Tutu evil is the lie that “tells a child of God that they are not a child of God.” without hope or purpose we live in fear; feeling lost and alone we seek affirmation of ourselves within ourselves, and so our hunger for the light only finds darkness, and our thirst for communion is drowned in the dead waters of self-centeredness.
the illusion of evil (that which is false) can only be overcome by the truth. coming to know the truth in a world full of evil is not always easy. the lies that society drums into our heads (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) are hard to dislodge and often difficult for us to recognize as living within us. the lies we tell ourselves (grandiosity, arrogance, lust, etc.) are equally difficult to recognize and dislodge. often our personal lies are deeply intertwined in our social lies, one feeding off and re-enforcing the other. but we are not lost, there is true and real hope for us to be free.
in the gospel of john we are told that Jesus "is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world". sin is believing the lie and Jesus takes it away by shining forth the truth of God. we are not lost and alone, God is ever-present calling us to turn from the lie and to live in Him. God loves the whole of creation and does not abandon us to our illusions, "indeed God did not send the Son into the world to condemn it but in order that the world be healed through Him." by living in Christ we are freed from the power of the illusion. the more we turn from the lie of self-centeredness toward the truth of God's love manifest in the person of Jesus Christ the more sane living becomes possible in a crazy world. for what is sane living but to be free to be who we are - children of God - called to love and live in harmony with all so that the truth and beauty of God will shine through God's creation, for "what has come into being in Him is life, and the life is the light of all people."
©2010 halley low