“Evil only succeeds by disguising itself as good.” Thomas Acquinas
Richard Rohr recently ended one of his daily blogs with this statement which took my breath away. How often am I blindsided by thinking I am doing the right thing when it is really the wrong thing. I have learned one clue. When I am so certain that something is right, I am to beware. I must go slowly. I may be on the wrong path. When I am immediately incensed about an issue and want to lash out, this is when evil takes over a good cause.
My husband and I have been watching Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War. This story is chocked full of people doing evil disguised as good as probably all wars are.
Every day I see kind, generous people trying to help and save addicts and alcoholics they love when they are not helping them by supporting them and allowing them to stay in their addiction. The denial for those caught in addiction that they do not have a problem also is evil disguised as good.
The church has disguised evil as good in its many abuses to people who are different from it from its very beginning from Jews and Muslims to the Inquisitions to colonial times and slavery, to missionaries to the countries of Africa, to today’s wrestlings with the issues of women, gays, LGBT’s, and immigrants.
Parents also struggle with the issue of evil disguised as good as they are constantly confronted with the issues of whether what they are doing for their children is helping them become the people God created them to be or is their care giving keeping their children from growing, maturing. They have only their own experience with their own parents which may not be helpful, and it is tempting to over react to that part of their history.
The answer seems to be awareness, awareness of who we are and what makes us act the way we do. The answer is staying connected to the God of our understanding and learning to respond to those nudges or coincidences that put us on that road less traveled. The answer is living intentionally in community where we are supported and reminded and learn from the experience of others who are struggling as well to become the person God created us all to be. I know there is more, and I wake up today hoping to learn more.
Richard Rohr Meditation: “the Inevitable Spiral of Violence,” Center for Action and Contemplation, September 19, 2017. Adapted from Richard Rohr, Spiral of Violence (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2005), CD, MP3 download.