Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The Bible uses the word EVIL more than 400 times. But what is evil? From a narcissistic point of view it is bad things that happen to us. But that is an incomplete definition, because it excludes the thought that evil can originate in us. I prefer to think of evil as that which causes us to sin and violate God's righteousness.
This week America's thoughts have been on the horrific events of September 11, 2001. On that day, America realized that there are evil people who hate us and want to kill us. We all knew this in the back of our minds, but on that day it became a front-burner issue. And most of us viscerally felt the rage, disgust, horror, fear and helplessness of watching our fellow citizens die in an unimaginable horror.
What happened that day was evil. Al Qaeda and its associated groups launched an attack on innocent civilians to make a political point. That is the basis of terrorism. What they did was evil. More than 2800 people died that day, and thousands more in the wars that have followed as the United States and its allies pursue terror groups around the world.
I appreciate the President using the term "evil" to describe the people who did this and their actions. Moral clarity is helpful when dealing with evil. And this type of evil is pretty easy to recognize. But there are other types of evil that are less evident. But they are evil nonetheless. And allowing evil to fester in our midst is always a bad thing.
Why do we allow subcultures to abuse their members? There are immigrants to this country who work in virtual slavery to pay off the fee for their transport. Leviticus 19:34 instructs Israel to treat aliens as one of their own. Shouldn't we?
Why do we allow corporations in the U.S to sell goods made with slave labor, or near-slave labor, in Third-World countries? Better yet, why do we buy those goods?
Why do we look the other way and allow drug communities to exist in our cities as long as the violence that accompanies drug dealing stays in that neighborhood? What about the innocent people trapped by economic circumstance in those communities? Don't they deserve the same protection the suburbs receive?
Why do we allow inner-city school children to receive a sub-standard education? Many cities have made dramatic improvements, but there are still far too many children trapped in schools that cannot properly educate them. These kids will be hampered for the rest of their lives, but that doesn't bother many of us. Why is that?
Sept. 11 was a day of evil actions. But evil abounds in the world, and we can stamp out many types of evil in our local communities. We just have to see the evil around us.