It’s hard not to see all the evil in the world when we look around, and especially throughout history. World wars, genocides, terrorist attacks, the list goes on. When we think about the key players in these catastrophic events, it’s hard not to have a disgusted look or thought. It wouldn’t be the first time we would have uttered the phrase, “that person was/is so evil, how could he/she do that?!” Comments such as these come from a place of deep hurt and distress, and it is true that the acts were very horrific and evil. What I want to bring to your attention is a small wording in that kind of statement: that PERSON is evil. Seems like a very insignificant thing to point out, but if we truly understand what it means to be a human person, who we are and more important WHO’S we are…that statement becomes completely incorrect.
There is no such thing as a evil person. Before anyone jumps, think about it. Genesis 1 reminds us in who’s image we were created in. We were created in GOD’S image and likeness (Gen 1:27). God is love and He is the source of all that is good, therefore He cannot create anything that is not good. If we were created in His image, and He is all good, then WE are good. God even commented after He created man by saying “it was VERY good” (Gen 1:31). Our inherit nature is good. Take a journey forward now. Go to Calvary and the crucifixion. Christ didn’t die for a certain number of us. He died for ALL of humanity. Every single person whether past, present or future. He loved us so deeply, and saw something in each on of us that was worth dying for. Both these descriptions apply to us, but also to those we deem as “evil”. It doesn’t matter who the person is or what they have done, at the end of the day their true identity is and always will be a child of God created in His image. St. John Paul II reminds us of this when he stated, “we are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.” Every person is the sum of the Father’s love and every person has that same capacity to become “the image of His Son Jesus” as St. John Paul II mentioned. The difference arises in the ACTIONS, but not the identity. Our identity remains the same, completely independent of our actions.
So if our nature is good and for the good then why do some people chose to do the bad? Yes our ultimate desire is always for the good, essentially for God whether we know it or not. What changes is the channels that we take and how we act upon that desire. As a result of original sin, everything became skewed and lead us to have a twisted understanding of what is good. How a person was raised and their past history plays a huge impact on that. It’s important to remember that those who are convicted of crimes and devastating acts are not born that way. It developed overtime as their story unfolded, and it eventually lead them to commit that particular act. Think about it this way: if something like killing someone is completely devastating for us that even the thought of it brings a sick feeling to our stomach, how much pain, hate, and trauma does that person have to hold inside of them to push them so far as to kill someone? Traumas that are not healed, not forgiven, and build overtime can lead a person to a place they never thought they would ever be in. It seeps into our hearts like a poison that slowly eats away at us.
It’s difficult not to look at theses people in a certain way, but what if we could seem them as they truly are, our lost brother or sister who is loved by God so much that He chose to die for him/her on the cross, and who also has a story which lead him/her to where he/she is now. This does not in any way diminish the responsibility they hold for the act thee commit, but it does change how we view them as people and also what we chose to hold inside our own hearts. If we can view them through our Father’s loving eyes, how would we see them? What would change? How would we approach them? Through the power of God’s love and forgiveness…this can be possible.
I want to end off with a story that I heard recently:
There was a husband and wife driving with their two little girls in the back seat. From the other side of the street a car driven by a lady who was drunk and on drugs, crashed into their car and killed the two little girls. The lady pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a time in prison. After the husband and wife recovered from their physical injuries, their hearts still ached from their emotional injuries of the loss of their daughters. Realizing that the only way for true healing was through forgiveness, they began to write letters to the lady in prison. She in turn, would write back. After her time was done, the couple asked the parole officer for a very unusual request. They asked to meet with this woman in person. The husband recalls that the first thing he did when he saw the woman, was hug her. He knew that what connected them both, was their humanity. Today, this couple travels around the world to churches, conferences and schools…along with the woman who killed their two daughters. The three of them share their story together.
God’s love and the act of forgiveness made this possible. Let us always remember to keep in our prayers, our lost brothers and sisters, that they may heal from their hurts and feel God’s incredible love for them.
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