Evil is not in itself a thing or an entity. It’s the absence of an entity. Kind of like there is no such thing as cold — cold is the absence of heat. Evil is the absence of good. It will consume the good in those that let it.
Evil is not self-sustaining. It must be in constant movement and perpetual action. It has to constantly keep recruiting new participants, hosts to inhabit. It does not rest. It cannot rest, because if it did, it would collapse and would cease to exist.
Rest (sleep, sabbath, vacation, breaks, pauses, etc) restores the good and pushes against the evil that is always lurking. When we refuse to rest, we unwittingly begin colluding with evil. Perhaps this collusion begins with the contempt and hatred of self, giving oneself over to shame.
Where good happens you can bet that evil will be at work to slow it down. Innocence will be stolen, hopes will be poisoned, and order will become chaos. All because to exist without is far too painful and problematic, even for evil. This is hell, to exist in the absence of good.
Evil will stop at nothing to get those who fight for good to give up their arms. Seems to me the two most common options to begin participating and conspiring with evil is through vengeance or apathy.
Vengeance (revenge) assumes that one can defeat evil. You cannot defeat the absence of something. The only possible feeling of not being able to win is to be defeated, and give up. Apathy. One who is apathetic stops fighting for good, thus the cycle continues.
While we will might never be able to prevent another school shooting, we can take a step towards the light and goodness in our homes, at work, and in our community by not giving up to revenge or apathy. Overwhelmed with all the evil in the world? Try this.
Do not lie. Evil thrives on lies. It is itself a lie. When we cannot distinguish the difference between truth and fiction, we become puppets. The little white-lies we tell ourselves, and other’s, are the most dangerous because they eventually become fertile ground to grow to bigger and bigger lies.
Grieve what has been lost, do not let grief become self pity (cheap grief) or apathy. True grief is a kind of rest. Grief is an act of pushing back against the evil that was done to us or to someone we love. Grief allows love to be center stage.
Look at people in the eyes. Compliment them. Tell people what you enjoy about them. Be curious about the battle they are facing. Offer gratitude to them. Say thank you every chance you get. Let your breathing be an offer of thanksgiving. Tell the workers who make your life better thank you. Look at them in the eyes when you do so. When we look at people in the eyes with goodness, we offer a dignity that evil has no answer for. Evil cannot stay in the light, it will flee.
I wonder who in your life needs your eye contact, and your delight? I wonder what kind of delight you might need. Do you know? Do you have someone to ask or talk to about that?