DayBreaks for 07/23/12 – Where Evil Calls Home
This past week we witnessed via television and the media, the horror of another mass killing, this one in Aurora, CO. Let me first say that we all should be praying for the victims and the people involved with this tragedy. It is senseless, it is numbing, it is evil. We may search forever in our human “wisdom” and never understand this tragedy. As a way of thinking differently about it, perhaps, let me share this story from John Ortberg:
“Because we live in a largely therapeutic culture, evil is a slowly disappearing concept. But every once in a while we are shaken by a holocaust, a genocide, or the destruction of a World Trade Center, and we remember why we need that word. The Bible reminds us that we battle “evil in the heavenly places.”
Psychiatrist Scott Peck wrote of meeting with a depressed 15-year-old named Bobby, who was increasingly troubled after his 16-year-old brother killed himself with a .22 rifle.
“Peck tried to probe Bobby’s mind, but got nowhere. Searching for ways to establish a bond, he asked what Bobby had received from his parents for Christmas. “A gun,” Bobby said. Peck was stunned.
“More stunned. “How did it make you feel, getting the same kind of gun your brother killed himself with?”
“It wasn’t the same kind of gun.” Peck felt better.
“It was the same gun.”
“Bobby had been given, as a Christmas present, by his parents, the gun his brother used to kill himself.
When Peck met with the parents, what was most striking was their deliberate refusal to acknowledge any wrongdoing on their part. They would not tolerate any concern for their son, or any attempt to look at moral reality.
“Two decades later and after his conversion to Christianity, Peck wrote about this encounter: “One thing has changed in twenty years. I now know Bobby’s parents were evil. I did not know it then. I felt their evil but had no vocabulary for it. My supervisors were not able to help me name what I was facing. The name did not exist in our professional vocabulary. As scientists rather than priests, we were not supposed to think in such terms.”
“Interestingly enough, although Peck often worked with convicted prisoners, he rarely found evil there. Evil, he finally decided, is not primarily indicated simply by sinful acts. Rather, it is the refusal to tolerate one’s sense of sinfulness: “The central defect of evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it.” This definition is reflective of Jesus’ far greater severity in dealing with religious leaders than with prostitutes and tax collectors.” – John Ortberg, Fighting the Good Fight, Leadership Journal, Spring 2012
PRAYER: For the victims of evil in this world, Lord, we pray. We lift up their families to You for comfort which we are totally unable to give. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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