A madman set fire to a New York subway station, killing multiple people and inflicting smoke, bullets, as well as terror, earlier this week. In Tennessee, an individual drove his car through Christmas Parade and killed five people, inflicting injuries to many more.
Ukraine is suffering genocide and terror as well as indiscriminate looting, rape and other war crimes. These horrific conditions have been created by the greedy of an even larger and more powerful country.
Not too long ago, a black man died while a police officer placed his knee over the man’s neck, rendering him unable to breathe. A Georgian man was also killed by two unidentified men.
One of the deadliest shootings ever recorded was when a Florida kid attacked his school. Shootings of this type are becoming more frequent, though, and it won’t be long before we see another.
In Washington D.C., a man opened fire at Republican politicians by walking up to the baseball fields. A man approached the Family Research Center once with the intent to kill people and then shoving Chick Fil A sandwiches in the mouths of those who were left behind.
These events are often explained by us. We look for a reason and a system of belief or ideologies to be blamed. The objective is to find a reason to show that the individual went wrong. It is possible that they have a mental disorder. They can use these rationalizations to cope with their horror.
Although we are living in an age of mental health crisis, it is also true that the human instinct to interpret and rationalize these actions is a survival strategy. Sometimes, our only concern is to see acts of evil.
I already said that this week.
Evil can be far more terrifying than a person who is just bad. The motivations of a person who is bad are often not good enough. It is possible to understand the motivations of the bad guy and come to terms. When there’s just evil, however, we seek to understand the reasoning behind it. We try to find the reasons behind the evil acts a truly bad person commits, and when that person is just evil we can’t find any reasons behind it. That’s what evil is. It exists for the purpose of existing and that’s it.
It’s a heavy topic to consider, but we must confront it in our society. Our health is poor. Mentally, we aren’t in the best place. And when we’ve let go of guiding lights, and when we’ve let go of the idea that people we don’t like or agree with are still human, we arrive at this point.
A supreme act for good occurred two thousand years ago. It was intended to aid us in times such as these.
This Friday is called Good Friday. This is the date Jesus Christ died on the cross. Jesus did the greatest thing on earth: He brought us back into communion. However, it happened only because his life was reduced in the eyes those who considered him a danger.
Pilate, innocent of any crime, tried to free the man. Pilate refused to be placated, and he decided that the people would have to choose between Jesus being freed or an insurrectionary called Barabbas. Barabbas was the choice of the crowd. The Roman historian Tacitus later recorded that “Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate, and the pernicious superstition [of his divinity] was checked for a moment.”
Jesus of Nazareth was nailed to the cross by Romans. Martin Luther, a Protestant reformer, said that Jesus of Nazareth was the greatest sinner to ever live. He died on that cross. The sky turned dark. The ground began to crackle. Most believed it to be vandalism when the curtain of the Jewish temple was torn in half. The first person of the Trinity turned His back on the second person of the Trinity and even the sun refused to shine on Christ as the sins of mankind, past, present, and future were placed on Him to satisfy God’s wrath. Immanuel, who was always with us, caused the curtain to sag. The veil no longer separated us from God. Christ reconciled us to God.
Evil exists. Evil was what turned Christ over at Pilate’s hands. Evil was what crucified Him. However, those horrible acts were turned into redemption by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us all.
It’s important to note that Jesus could have walked away. At the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus begged God for help. Jesus became terrified for his own destiny in an instant of weakness. Jesus cried out on the cross to God, asking God for his forgiveness. He endured these moments of weakness because they were human.
This one act of kindness restored everyone, even the evildoers in this world. It gives those who have fallen to the darkness a chance to return home, in this or the next.
But that redemption cannot come if we don’t, as a society, reinstitute a belief in the equality of life. It is time to stop devaluing, dehumanizing and undermining those who are opposed or differ with us. We are less likely to see them as equals and more inclined to consider them disposable. The life Jesus gave His would have no meaning.