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Eric's Sunday Sermon: The Battle of Good and Evil
Who among us will give aid to such a man?
Good trumps evil
I heard a preacher man tell a story about socks. It was heartfelt and decidedly true. The story is about good in a strange place at first blush. But on second thought one is forced to think: "Why not?"
The preacher was doing laundry in a laundromat. He had just loaded his load when a bedraggled unkempt and seemingly homeless man basically burst in and yelled repeatedly. He seemed a bit "off the mark". He yelled "NEED SOCKS, NEED SOCKS". The preacher notice the man had shoes but no socks. He inquired but got only "need socks" in return. So the preacher man, having time while his load was washed went with the man to a nearby discount store and bought the man a package of socks.
First we note that the preacher man was in such a way himself that he needed a laundromat. Then we note that I have heard this preacher man preach and he seems to walk the talk. So the story is believable. But alas this is not a story of the preacher mans' goodness, oh no it is far more deep.
Upon exiting the store the man did not pause to give thanks and ran across the street. There sat an even more bedraggled soul in a wheel chair. And he was barefoot. The man ripped open the package of socks and gently put the socks on the feet of the wheelchair bound man.
You should be asking "how does this relate to the battle between good and evil?" Well that is what we shall discuss.
No matter what there is someone more lonely than you.
Are you ready for the battle.
Today, can you reach out and do good for somebody?
Not at all a collision course.
We see evil. We feel evil. We detest evil. And we will fight evil when we can. But the fight against evil is not in a sword or armaments. It is in the good we do. Some would look at a glass that had been partially filled with water. Some would say it is half full and others would say that it is half empty. I tell you neither is true, the glass is completely filled, half with water and half with air, both we need to survive. And so it is that if we fill our glasses completely full with goodness there is no room for bad.
The woman that fills her days with doing good does not leave time for evil to creep in.
Think of recruitment in areas of gangs or larger areas of war like the whole problem with ISIS. The teenagers and mercenaries do not come from "good" places and just run off to kill people. No the come from lack of good and love. They are low hanging fruit that lack the fortitude of good and so are easy pickings for those who would do evil. In the short run we send in police and we send in armies to defeat the evil. But in the long run this will not defeat evil for evil can only be defeated when good has taken up all the room in the glass.
Lasting peace can only come from lasting good. If we leave a void that is where evil will seek and find a home.
Poor snakes, they get the bad rap of symbolizing evil.
So how do we fight against evil in our day to day lives.
Evil does not want to confront good, it is a losing battle. Evil is more cunning than that. Evil will exploit weaknesses and crawl into crevices to create a wedge. If there is a place in our hearts that is filled with the bastions of evil that is where the evil will seek out to do its' damage. You may claim victim status or you may claim "the devil made me do it". But in the long run, in the end result you allowed evil in by harboring negativity in the first place.
These bastions are really rather simple to see and identify within ourselves. Call them the sins of the heart. They take on several forms in both the specific and in the core of our existence. Greed, lust, hate, envy, worry, deceit and anger are just a few manifestations of what is really at the core of evil.
Selfishness is the root and room for the evil part of our hearts. When we indulge the self we maintain room and put out a welcome mat for evil to come join with us. When we get outside of ourselves and do good we put out the No Vacancy sign and kick the monster of evil out and down the road.
Be sure of this notion. It is not good enough to pray and meditate on good. We must act on it in order to fully get outside of ourselves. We must give and we must show kindness and warmth are caring. We cannot truly have it in our hearts unless we give it away in a concrete fashion. It is akin to saying "the more you give, the more you get".
A several hundred year old Piute symbol in a rock.
So where is the battle between good and evil?
Clearly this battle is within all of us. When we are in a good place within us and not giving room through selfishness then we can help to fill others with good and like the original story here, that good can fill others with good and good can thrive leaving evil no place to call home. And if all of us can do this there would appear to be no evil in the world. But I am afraid that is only an illusion. The battle is constant and the biggest of all weaknesses in this battle is apathy.
Fill your hearts with love for others and you will defeat your own apathy.
Fill not your heart with a desire to take what does not belong to you.
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