When I was researching material for my second book, In Living Color: The Lord’s Prayer, I was introduced to a new way of understanding evil. The seventh petition of the prayer Jesus taught his disciples seeks God to deliver us from evil. In that context, the Aramaic translation of the English word “evil” suggested it was more like an obstacle preventing us from achieving our true potential.
When developing my latest ebook, Be the Light: Overcoming Evil with Good, another word in Aramaic is translated into “evil” in the sense of evil spirits. This kind of evil is more like being undeveloped, unripe, not ready or past due – rotten, something that is not done at the right time. Other English words that might describe evil in this way are immature, childish, impatient, procrastinating, incomplete, or undeveloped.
By the way, Be the Light is permanently free at Smashwords and can be downloaded to all brands of ereaders. If you’ll go to the Amazon site here, I’d appreciate you informing them that you found another site where the book is listed at a lower price. I’ve been waiting for them to price-match the Smashwords site, but I don’t think anyone has notified them. Amazon has a link for you to do this right below the “Amazon best sellers rank.” This is the hyperlink that you’ll need to report to them where it is free: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/291421.
Once they price-match it, then it will be free on Amazon, too. Oh yes, you can get it directly from the Kobo site for free, too.
Back to evil. I think we have a paradigm of evil that places the cart before the horse. Jesus had it right when he said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matt. 15:19).
What erupts from the foundational core (heart) of the person turns into actions that are hurtful, insensitive, immature, divisive, and is oppositional to harmony.
When the foundational core of a person is good (ripe, well-developed, mature), good works erupt. If the core of a person is not developed or if obstacles have been set in place to that person being able to move forward in their mental development, hurtful actions come forth. It’s the heart that leads the actions.
To fix evil in the world, we’ve got to start working on the horse (heart/core) rather than trying to fix the cart (actions).
Commandments and condemnation and threats are the tools we use in religion to try to fix the cart. The secular way to deal with evil is prison bars, bombs, or drones. They have never worked to reduce the evil in the world. Why? Because it’s the horse that’s sick and the cart follows the horse.
How does the heart get diseased? Divide the word “diseased” into its component parts.
“Dis” means “not.”
“Ease” means “at peace.”
Hearts that are not at ease are dis-eased, without peace, not at rest. From a diseased heart comes murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
Hurtful actions come from a foundational core that is not at ease – and that’s what makes early childhood and elementary education so very important. It’s what makes counseling so important in later years.
Yet, what’s one of the first things that takes a hit when money gets tight and the threat of higher taxes looms? Education – the foundational training centers of our nation. We actually need more foundational training centers for young parents in how to help their little ones mature.
Look what’s going on in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other undeveloped countries – educational training is only for males, and the type of training they receive is misinformation.
The more we limit the development of our children, the more evil/immature/undeveloped/ diseased the future of our nation will become. We will become just like the undeveloped minds of those who commit harmful acts if we don’t start acting maturely – putting time and money into the development of our children.
And teaching them, from early on, that you can only overcome evil (immaturity) with good (maturity.) If people want to get rid of evil in the world, they’re going to have to pay for it…not through defense but through education.