Something Out There
There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their
mothers; those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not
cleansed of their filth; those whose eyes are ever so haughty,
whose glances are so disdainful; those whose teeth are swords
and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the
earth, the needy from among mankind.
Some modern thinkers like to think of the existence of evil in our world as something beyond oneself or one’s immediate circle of friends. Instead of seeing the problem as a primal impulse that grows within an individual, they are more likely to identify the problem of evil as something associated with groups or classes or even nations. And they are just as likely to ascribe naturalistic causes or reasons for evil in the world.
It is uncomfortable to think of evil as so close that it could be inside rather than outside of oneself. Who wants to think of themselves as being capable of being evil or doing wrong? Even the symbol of all evil in the modern world, Adolph Hitler, undoubtedly believed that he himself was right in his quest to destroy this or that group or nation. He undoubtedly believed he was a progressive agent of righteousness rather than a diabolical instrument of darkness. Who willingly recognizes that they are susceptible to inclinations from the heart that can lead to mass murder and mayhem?
Solomon says that people can curse their fathers and not bless their mothers and still they remain pure in their own eyes, yet he also says they are “not cleansed of their filth.” When it comes to determining our own purity, are we to be trusted? Or are we blind to the nature of what might lurk within our own hearts? And how do we think God is judging us? Would God agree that we are “really good people”? We need to be wise in our humility when it comes to pointing our fingers at others.
—from Eric Kampmann's, Signposts