In a conversation, it is often hard to remember that not everyone is honorable. A touch of paranoia helps, yet even then one can be caught by surprise. The other day I was told, bluntly, factually, and with a voice of conviction, that I had said something that I never said. I might have paused to question my memory, except that I have been on an extended quest to get the subject at hand clarified. If I had ever said the alleged, my quest would have ended. By being consistently on the quest, I have no doubts of the truth. Yet, the allegation was made. It became my words versus another, with visible doubt in the middle.
Evil has many variations. Accusations, lies, and at its worse gossip are, from my experience, the closest allies to pure Evil. When someone acts covertly, “in secret they bribed men to lie: 'We heard him cursing Moses and God,'” (Acts 6.11) there is nothing honorable about their act or intent. Even as I reach for a stone in response, I wonder if I am responding to Evil with evil.
The fact that evil is all around us, in our community, part of our conversations, touching our lives in far too many ways, should not be a surprise. Evil has surrounded me since before I was born. It was, is, and will be here for as far as I can see into the future.
The question is not about how many evil variations exists; rather it is about how you and I respond to evil in all its variations. Since I often lose to Evil, I am not a model of perfect success. However, my failures have taught me a few lessons.
First, responding to evil with more evil is never the answer.
Second, Evil can never steel one's freedom. We may give our freedom up, but nobody can ever take it from us.
Third, evil is always selfish. Your/my response does not need to feed that selfishness (though that is Evil's goal). Your/my response is just that, yours mine.
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