Most parents shield their children from the harsh realities of life.
- In the Holocaust, six million men, women and children were exterminated.
- If you wear a crucifix, there are people in the world who will not hesitate to shoot you, blow you up or chop off your head and record a video to show the world.
- I could go on …
But at some point, parents realize their obligation includes preparing this new person for the real world that includes wretched horrors as well as sublime joys.
And so we learn the world can be a dangerous place.
But do parents also teach that we should resist such evil? Or should we ignore it and hope it will go away, not bother us, not intrude on our pleasant mini-world?
I suppose parenting styles vary as much as people do. My parents were pretty much mum on the subject. They acknowledged that these things happened, that they were bad, but that was pretty much the end of the story.
It was left to me to figure out if and when I should do something. And to be completely frank, I was pretty much happy to just leave things alone.
Evil was “there”, not “here”. It was “back then”, not “here now”.
That was until something really bad happened in my own life.
I won’t go into the details again — you can read a little about it here — it’s the last part that counts.
But the point is, when I experienced that evil right here and now and I saw that me and mine are being hurt, the question becomes, “What can I do?”
Evil is no dummy. It prepares. It plans. It schemes. It works out contingencies. It anticipates and puts down roadblocks to head off interventions.
To defeat evil, your good has to be stronger than it.
This can be physical strength, intellectual strength, emotional strength and even the strength of faith.
Which will prevail, good or evil?
In the larger scheme of human life over the millennia, it does seem that good does eventually win. But there can be long periods and major outbreaks where, for many years and across many generations, evil has the upper hand.
Most of us operate on the small scale of individual, family and immediate community. The latter would include any groups in which you interact such as a bridge club, office or church.
Those places and groups are where each person’s good comes up against evil, albeit sometimes in some mighty confusing and obfuscated — isn’t that a great word for what it means — ways.
So we fight the fights. We try to further the good, the improvements, the better for all concerned. And we oppose the selfish, the self-centered, the self-serving.
But when your good isn’t strong enough … … …