Advent Day 18 of 50: Resist Not Evil, 2
Resisting Evil. In studying and learning the commandments of Jesus, his instruction to resist evil is the most disturbing of them all because it goes against our fundamental sense of justice. Good should be rewarded and evil must be punished to prevent it and/or stop it. If we do not resist evil, the argument goes, then evil will continue. We might even believe that not opposing evil is the same as rewarding it.
As children we are introduced to rewarding good and punishing evil with the friendly visitor at Christmas. Whether we call him St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, Gaghant Baba, Papa Noel, or Kris Kringle, he exists and functions on this temporal plain. He knows if we’ve been naughty or nice and dishes out rewards or punishments accordingly.
God is not Santa Claus. Think of all the kids who did not get the rewards that were due to them. It usually turned them against Santa Claus. And while they may grow out of their feelings of disappointment, they may never regain a belief in the good man from the North. What happens when we have expectation of God that are not met? Many end up with loss of belief and faith.
As we have learned on this journey, God’s Universe is large, and His children are all. By our human standards the measures of good and evil are defined by our circumstances and known reality. Going beyond these parameters, things might be and will be perceived differently.
Torrential rains, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes wreak havoc throughout the world. We agree that these are horrible examples of destruction. They all take place within the atmosphere of Earth. Should we then curse the atmosphere? What is the alternative? Take a look at the Moon and you’ll see a world without these disastrous weather patterns, for no other reason than the Moon doesn’t have an atmosphere. Consequently, no atmosphere means there is no life! Even more, no atmosphere permits space debris to pelts it, leaving the craters and the Moon’s iconic pock-marked surface. There is “evil” in both spheres – the weather conditions on Earth, and the crashing of meteors and the lifeless Moon, and that “evil” is a condition of the system. Let us agree, some systems do not even allow for the resistance of evil.
Today on our Advent Journey, we are asked to look beyond evil, to the conditions that give rise to it. Yes, we do want to control and eliminate evil, but is it possible that the system that gives rise to evil is in need of an overhaul?
Do not resist evil. We’re still not through, but for today, we pray a prayer from the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. O God, we thank you for the lives of great saints and prophets in the past, who have revealed to us that we can stand up amid the problems and difficulties and trials of life and not give in. We thank you for our foreparents, who’ve given us something in the midst of the darkness of exploitation and oppression to keep going. Grant that we will go on with the proper faith and the proper determination of will, so that we will be able to make a creative contribution to this world. In the name and spirit of Jesus we pray.