"It is better to deserve honors and not have them than it is to have honors and not deserve them."
I speak of evil this morning. Lest this post seem too lofty, as if the writer arrogates to himself the right to judge and to execute, please note I write only of base, garden variety evil. This is not evil for the sake of good, or hazy-grey evil that can seem acceptable if you squint at it from a great distance.
No, I mean the old-fashioned I-do-this-because-I-am-bigger-than-you-evil. This is the school yard bully level of evil. Purveyors of this form of bad act because they can. There is no one to stop them, or to protect their victims or to punish them or to set right their wrongs. These are Wall Street financiers who create a new version of the shell game and then palm the pea. These are legislators who vote something horrendous out of committee, knowing it will win passage, but vote against it on the floor so they can appear righteous to their constituency.
This is the evil of the liberally-minded "leader" who rails against the monsters to come, only to become a similar monster. Finally, rum-soaked and sin-sodden, he takes his arm twisting to a new depth of depravity. He touches with his hand where he previously only let crawl his hissing tongue.
This tale is of that kind of evil.
There are some things we need to know about evil. Evil is part in parcel with that old semi-Victorian word "wickedness." Wickedness is furtive, what an ordinary fellow like me would term "sneaky." Evil insists. Wickedness seduces. Evil demands we slam shut the door of a railroad cars filled with children for the ovens. Wickedness suggests we turn our heads just slightly, so the car can pass out of our line of vision.
We should also know wickedness is the partner of evil, then, that makes you a partaker with evil. You salve your conscience, while a conscience you still feel, by telling your heart you are not a partner with evil. What can you do? After all, it takes evil men to stop other evil men. No one can deny their evil men in this world.
If God does not settle with evil, God must be immoral. If the God you pursue is immoral, you must then pursue Him out of greed for what He can do for you or fear of what He can do to you. You might be well served either way but you will never in this guise find a God to love.
Some Italian saint wrote a true confession requires honest inspection of the soul, meaningful remorse for wrong doing and a real intent to repent toward God. He was right, as far as he knew.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone, not those of the church I serve, or of any individual or institution I might represent or know.