Matthew 12:35 NRSV
The good person brings good things out of a good treasure,
and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure
3 John 1:11 NRSV
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good.
Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.
Recognizing “the world, the flesh, and the devil” as the classic three sources of evil (and also the source of the “spiral of violence”) —
- the world’s agreed-upon systems of self-congratulation and self-protection;
- our individual sin, which is then inevitable;
- the demonic legitimization of oppressive and destructive power by governments and institutions—
can be a primary tool to help you discern what is truly good and what is often evil. Without discernment, many of us end up calling good evil and evil good, just as Isaiah predicted (5:20) and the murder of Jesus revealed. – Richard Rohr
Romans 7:21 NRS
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 NRSV
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
The shadow self is not of itself evil; it just allows you to do evil without calling it evil. That is why Jesus criticizes hypocrisy more than anything else (eleven times in Matthew’s Gospel). Something that is shocking to many religious people is that Jesus is never upset with sinners; he’s only upset with people who think they are not sinners!
– Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality
It would be easy for us to think that all of those involved in dehumanizing Jesus were horrible people. If it were only the Roman soldiers, we might say, “Well, the Roman soldiers did terrible things like that.” Or if it were just the thieves on either side of Jesus, we could say, “After all, they were criminals. That’s what you would expect.” But the people who led the charge in dehumanizing and humiliating Jesus were considered the most pious people on the face of the planet in that day. – Adam Hamilton, Final Words
We don’t praise God for evil, we praise God in the midst of evil. Those are critically different responses. And we must avoid the former lest, in our hurry to comfort, we minimize evil and suggest that God is somehow culpable in the very sin he works so actively against.
– Marc Cortez, Three Mistakes We Make When Talking About the Sovereignty of God
In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn’t been good versus evil. It’s hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.
– Deirdre Sullivan, Always Go to the Funeral
Extended quote by Steve Harper from A ‘Greater Good’
Our reactions to evil only make sense because somehow, somewhere, and by someone a “greater good” has been placed in us. In moments of tragedy and suffering, our souls express this “greater good” in a variety of ways…
…in anger that says, “This is wrong and should never have happened.”
…in grief that says, “Someone/something precious has been taken away.”
…in compassion that says, “I care that you are hurting.”
…in stewardship that says, “I will share with you what I have in hopes it will help.”
…in community that says, “We will not allow you to bear this alone.”
…in collective will that says, “We must find ways to insure this does not happen again.”
…in prayer that says, “Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy!”
…in hope that says, “We will come back from this.”
…in worship that says, “God is with us.”
None of this, and more, would ever emerge unless somehow, somewhere, and by someone “a greater good” was put into the deepest part of us, waiting there like a well from which we can draw when evil acts like it has the final word.
Psalm 34:14 NRSV
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Romans 12:9 NRSV
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;
Romans 12:21 NRSV
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I face the primal struggle between good and evil
You have overcome
Reveal that truth in me and through me
– Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
For more information on use of the scripture, art and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page