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Evil by Affiliation

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love one another. The person who does not love remains spiritually dead. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life present in him. This is how we have come to know love: the Messiah [the Christ] gave his life for us...” 1 John 3: 14

‘Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer…’ - that is, he has the inner potential of a murderer; he has that which, if it were acted out, would commit murder. Way back in Genesis, Cain’s potential became actual – murder. The private malice, the secret grudge, the envy cherished in the heart, is murderous in its tendency. Were it not for the outward restraints of human laws and the dread of punishment, hate would murder more often.

New gun laws are again sought in America following the latest shooting tragedy in Connecticut that robbed the lives of 26 people, 20 of whom were just small children. This horrific incident reminds us of the tragedies that have happened right on our own doorstep here in Jersey.
Every time we yet again seriously ask ourselves, “Why? Why did this happen? How can we stop this happening again?”
‘I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am.’ (Joseph Baretti, literary critic, 1719-1789)

Do we blame God for this? Did he allow this to happen? Was it merely an obscure, evil individual? Or are we honest enough to look within our own selves bearing in mind the scripture above. Truth is we would be very ignorant to refuse to believe that we, ourselves, are not capable of carrying out these same tragedies. Could we really be the next murderer to hit the headlines? The potential is there.

According to scripture this problem has been with us a long time - since Eden in fact. Because of the wrongdoing of one man, all of us suffer the consequences of that evil including, if we’re honest enough, the ‘affiliation’ (the act of becoming formally connected or joined) with evil itself. A hard pill to swallow for those who see themselves as good and harmless.

If indeed we are affiliated to evil then would we not first have to do away with ourselves in order completely to do away with evil....How else could we fight against evil without mass suicide?
Thank God there’s another way, evil can be fought and defeated but it’s not easy and there’s no way you or I can do it alone.

When we come face to face with our evil enemies we do one of two things: fight or flight. Both are fear responses!
But one man thought and acted differently. No fight. No flight. Instead he addressed his evil adversaries very differently, though not everybody caught on. It was through his radical teaching that he was to change history forever. These are his words. “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”
A man named Jesus, who claimed to be God, sentenced to die on a cross by the hands of evil men. Who didn’t resist evil, but actually allowed it. And because of this man’s actions a new ‘affiliation’ has been put in place: ‘affiliation’ (not with evil but) with the cross.
How does this make a difference? Another man named Martin Luther King took wisdom from this. During the peak of racism this guy put himself and others with him, in the forefront of evil men in the most racist part of America. He made a peaceful demonstration for equal rights amongst all citizens regardless of skin colour.
‘Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.’ (Paul, Romans 5: 8-20, AD 57)
It was like taking a red rag to a bull - a stage was set for action - all could then see their own hate brought out in the open. Regardless of the beatings, killings and abuse, Martin Luther King and his supporters didn’t flinch, didn’t retaliate. Whilst the evil by affiliation of mankind worked itself out in violence, the resultant shame brought many perpetrators (and observers) to the point of remorse. A positive change in history occurred.
That remorse is no different to that with which a believer in ‘the cross’ is familiar. Through this remorse we now have a new ‘affiliation’ with the only “Good”, the only “God.” Affiliation with our own self seeking evil desires begins to fall away........
Alastair Taylor

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