Good and evil exist in the world. Good and evil can be seen in the same events, like the Orlando shooting. The evil of the shooting played out side by side with the good of the heroic responses by victims, responders, their families and friends and the community that rallied around them.
Good and evil is the timeless subject of stories, and imagination, history and our cultural, political and personal narratives. Most of us like to think of ourselves on the side of good, opposed to evil, however we define those terms. Some of us, only a very few among us, who attempt to uphold a naturalistic view of the world devoid of God or gods, would dare say that good and evil exist only in our wishful thinking. Even they, however, are quick to denounce what they view as evil, belying their assertions that there is no such thing as good (or evil).
Contrary to the way we like to view things, evil does not play along party, idealistic or even religious lines. Evil and the forces of evil are opportunistic and they are everywhere.
Let me explain.
We see good and evil through the lens of our own perspective. If we are Democrats, we see evil in Republican politics (and good in Democratic politics). If we are Republican, we see evil on the other side of the party line and good in our own camp. The same is true with conservative and liberal, religious or non-religious, and on and on… but that is not how evil works.
Though we tend to see evil “on the other side”, evil cuts across party, ideological and even religious lines.
Evil is relative. I am not saying that good is relative (though others might), but evil is relative, evil thrives in the relativism. Evil loves it when we think good is relative, because relativism is fertile ground for evil.
Evil depends on where you stand. If you stand in the conservative camp, you see it on the left. If you stand in the liberal camp you see you see it on the right. If you stand in the middle, you see evil on both sides, but all of that is simply the relativism evil. Evil wants us to believe that evil is on the other side, whatever the other side is, and as long as we are focused on the evil “on the other side” we are probably not going to see the evil on our own side, in our midst.
The truth is that evil lies on all sides. We are surrounded by it, and we may even embrace the evil that lives on our own side; we might even think it is good!
We are quick to see differences as evil, but evil does not lie in the differences. Evil is opportunistic and is just at home in the differences as it is in sameness.
People see evil in politics. Evil is as opportunistic in politics as it is with other things, but politics is not evil. Although I see much evil in politics and recoil from politics myself, politics is no less susceptible to evil than religion or other institutions.
People see evil in religion. Evil is as opportunistic in religion, as it with other things, but religion is not evil. Although I see in the world through the eyes of Jesus Christ, the Christian church that I love is not immune from the forces of evil. On the other hand, it is no more susceptible to evil than science or other areas in which human involvement exists.
When we draw our lines, we have a heightened view of the evil on the other side; but we become blind to the evil on our side of the line as we focus on the evil “over there”.
Evil is opportunistic, and we allow ourselves to be used by the forces of evil when we do not view evil as it is, wherever it is, even when it lies close to us.
While evil is relative and opportunistic, good is absolute and unwavering. Good is the same yesterday today and always. Our focus should be on the unwavering good which is the character of God Himself.
Evil changes with the times, like a chameleon. We have never lived in a more opportunistic time for evil. The world is rapidly changing. Technology shrinks the world into our computers. We are tossed to and fro and overwhelmed with information and input, and all of this information and input is fertile ground for evil. This present world is a perfect place for evil to thrive because evil is opportunistic.
God stands as the Great I Am who always was, always is and ever will be. God, who gave us free will so that we would have the ability to commune with him in love, rather than by raw instinct or robotic programming, necessarily had to allow for the possibility of evil in order to give us the possibility of love – which is the ability to choose God freely and choose good over evil.
Evil is the absence of God and the absence of good. Evil requires agency to refuse God and to refuse good, which is the same agency that is necessary to choose love, to choose good – to choose God.
Evil is opportunistic, and, therefore, we need to exert effort to eliminate any opportunity for evil. While good is unchanging, unwavering and true, we can be like reeds blowing in the wind if we are not vigilant to give evil no foothold into our lives, our psyches and our souls.
Evil is opportunistic, and we are fodder for evil unless we stand firmly on the rock which is Christ and do not succumb to the winds of evil as they blow around us. If we allow ourselves to choose sides and be swept along in their currents, we allow evil the opportunity to influence us.