Out of the Dark
As we travel through life we experience relationships and encounter people who impact our lives. God created us to be relational beings, but relationships are not optional. They are central to what it means to be human. We inevitably relate to God, nature, and each other. Love is what makes relationships possible. Love binds people in relationships.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
However, we are broken people. We experience those who practice in distrust, inflicting fear and pain, and on occasion inflict abuse, both mental and physical. Fear is a powerful weapon. It can be used to control people and prevent many from forming relationships and thinking with a clear mind. When hate is practiced it prevents openness, security, growth, courage, and prevents our hearts from being open to the truth. There are people who are proficient in the practice of spreading fear and hate. These individuals are deceivers, and embody the spirit of evil. They peddle in lies and bullying.
The ability to recognize Love takes courage, but the ability to recognize evil within the folds of a deceivers heart also takes courage.
We could speak of the positive qualities of love and how it is applicable to all areas of our lives. But in today’s political environment it might be more advantageous to discuses qualities present in people who live to deceive. It will be easier to identify those who embody evil if we are knowledgeable of their negative qualities.
Boasting leads to an unrealistic or false opinion of oneself. Boastfulness can lead one to belittle, dismiss, or insult others. Constant boasting ignores the fact that blessings come from God. Boastful people may not realize how much they depend on others and ignore contributions they might make. Sometime a boaster will pretend to be independent and push people away.
Envy leads to bitterness, selfishness, anger, and other evils like rudeness and boastfulness. Envy can destroy relationships with others. The envious person is always focused on their self. They spending all their time focusing on their on interests and desires. There is no time or space in their lives for anyone except their self.
We all have reason to be proud of our self’s. We each understand that we have strengths; but we must always be knowledgeable that pride can get out of control. Arrogance and egotism show an inflated sense of self. Love teaches us to be realistic and honest about our self. Pride can begin with the desire to be better, but it can lead to excessive love of ones self. Pride can destroy relationships and leads to lack of modesty and humility. Rude behavior toward others is another attribute of excessive pride. Sadly, abusive behavior can also be a result of extreme pride.
Rudeness is the lack of consideration for others’ feelings. A rude person dills in disrespectful, offensive and provocative behavior. Sadly, in todays society and political environment, rude behavior has become a way to succeed or be popular for some. Rudeness hurts relationships. When a rude person ignores feelings or needs, people feel rejected, unwanted, and abandoned. Rude behavior can begin as a way to keep others away when they feel threatened. Rude actions can also illustrate a persons need to hide over-confidence. Rudeness causes anger, hurt, fear, and disconnection from others.
Selfishness leads to resentment, anger, and broken relationships. Unless we are willing to see life from others’ perspectives, we will be limited in the depth and compassion of our relationships with others. When one places his own concern’s above others’ needs is an attempt to shore up a false self-image. If a persons consuming desire to fulfill there very need leads them away from others.
The emotion of anger itself is not evil. The problem is an anger that takes over the mind and heart. If it lashes out to hurt the other person then it becomes a emotion turned evil. This type of anger destroys relationships and hurts people deeply. Feeling anger over serious wrongs in understandable. Even God became angry with injustices. But when a person is quick to anger there is a absence of self control that allows their anger to become uncontrollable and often leads to verbal or physical violence. Uncontrollable anger causes fear, resentment and withdrawal from love and relationships.
Hold a Grudge
Keeping a record of wrongs leads to deep resentment and inner bitterness. A disgruntled heart can turn into a heart that plans evil against other people. When people reach this point, relationships are in danger of perishing. People who entertain this position are usually not capable of forgiving others and not capable of asking for forgiveness when they are the offender. Occasionally we encounter people who believe they have never done a wrong and need not to be forgiven. Be leery of these folks, they tend to peddle in evil. These people harbor deep resentment and relationships cannot survive this type of behavior.
Delighting in evil can be as simple as rejoicing when things do not go well for others. When our hearts are filled with resentment, anger, hatred, and discontent, it is easier to wish evil for others. For some people it is easy to find joy in witnessing suffering and grief in other people. When we allow our hearts to find joy in evil, to rejoice in doing or allowing what is not right, we become increasingly deaf to the voice of God.