Scott Peck, who is best known for his book, "The Road Less Traveled", followed it a few years later with a stunner titled, "The People of the Lie". While his prior book was enlightening and encouraging, the second I mention was revealing and challenging to me as I read it. In it, Peck writes of true evil existing in seeming "normal" people we encounter every day whose goal is to break the spirits of those around them mainly through lies. He reveals that these individuals can be found in all walks of life and income levels and pick victims where they find them. Peck also postulates that evil is actually an illness and as such he offers a cure. He cautions that although a normal reaction to being attacked is to go on the defensive and give back evil for evil, the actual cure is to send back good. Peck says in this way the balance of the Universe is upset. The cure he suggests for evil is love. The most upsetting part is that he suggests that those being preyed upon absorb the evil but cautions that this can kill the individual being targeted. Peck's solution is a very secular description of the Gospel teachings in which there is a victim with no support other than to absorb the evil. Some of what Peck poses is true. There are people who exhibit evil in their actions either through their free will or untreated mental illness and their victim choosing to return evil for evil, further harm themself. However, there is an addendum to Peck's hypothesis. I am grateful that we have help from Our Lord who constantly encourages us through Scripture that we are never alone in our fight against evil, but He is with us. and sustains us and commands us to love others as He has loved us. Today's readings from Psalm 36 and Romans 12 in the Liturgy of the Hours are further reflections of this truth.
"Do not envy the wicked: do not be jealous of those who do evil.
They will dry up as quickly as hay; they will wither like the grass.
Put your trust in the Lord and do good, and your land and habitation will be secure. Take your delight in the Lord and He will give you what your heart desires.
Entrust your Journey to the Lord and hope in Him and He will act. He will make your uprightness shine like the light, your judgement like the sun at noon.
Take your rest in the Lord and hope in Him: do not envy the one who thrives in his own way, the man who weaves plots. Abstain from wrath, abandon anger. Do not envy him who turns to evil..."
It is true that evil resides among us but we have a path to follow to help us not to be overtaken by it. "Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good."
This space is dedicated to sharing the Good News with one another as we journey Home.