Monday, January 17, 2011

The Nature of Evil

At some point in our lives, many of us ask the question, "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?" We lament that life isn't fair, we rage against injustice, and we even lose faith in God for "not being there for us." Sometimes we try to justify the actions of God, saying things like, "It was God's will," or, "He was punishing us for our sins." Whatever course of action we choose, there is often a hole left in our understanding--a hole we know is there but try our best to ignore. Our justifications never quite fill the gap. Why? The answer is simple. We are coming from a perspective born of and limited to our earthly training instead of using our innate connection to God to gain new insight.

This earthly training often categorizes everything as "good" or "bad", and herein lies the problem. When we immediately judge something, we place limitations on it. Setting limits on something does not allow for change. The reality is, life is all about change because life is all about learning and growth.

When my newborn daughter died over twenty years ago, I felt horrible. It was hard to justify why a much wanted baby like mine didn't survive when other babies are born and kept where they are not wanted. As time went on, I realized a few things. I probably saved the lives of other babies by becoming an activist against the disease that killed her. Also, I was better able to understand and approach other people who had experienced the separation of death. My newborn daughter's death enabled me to do many things I would never have done otherwise. Was the experience difficult? Yes. Was it also rewarding? Yes.

The shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford is a good case in point. Agreement is widespread this act was an act of "evil". Yes, it is very sad the lives of six people, including that of an amazing nine year old girl, were ruthlessly snuffed out. Our assumption here is that their lives were shortened by the act of a madman, but is that true? Did they have the opportunity to learn what they came to learn? Were their purposes in life fulfilled? Did we, as a society, learn anything from their well-publicized deaths?

The point is, it is hard to know the ramifications of any experience during its initial onset, yet we often  automatically categorize it as "bad" or "evil". Experiences, in and of themselves, are not inherently good or evil. They become good or evil because of how we choose to interpret them. When we learn to accept and allow life's experiences without judgment, we will finally be free of the "evil" around us.   

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