Evil, real evil, isn’t easy to understand especially in a day and age where moral lines are continually being redrawn. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on the subject but there are a couple of authors who do and I think what they have to say could prove helpful to some of us trying to wrap our heads around some things that are taking place in our country at the beginning of 2017.
Many people, astonishingly, Christian people, do not seem to understand that when someone is mocked it means that the person has been treated with ridicule or contempt by another person who is out to hurt them. To this very day, Donald Trump claims that he did not mock the disabled reporter even though his actions recorded for all to see prove that he did. What many of us are struggling to comprehend is the silence from his own supporters in holding him accountable for his behavior. These very same supporters who are the same ones up in arms about Meryl Streep’s comments at the Golden Globes. She’s accused of “attacking Donald Trump” during her speech but the word attack by definition doesn’t even remotely describe what she said.
There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.
And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
I seen no intent to harm Donald Trump’s person or even his presidency. What I see is a woman sharing her own emotional response, similar to what many of us had, with her audience. She also spoke out as an advocate for the disabled man. I honestly would have expected the outcry about Trump’s behavior toward this man to have come from pulpits around the country ahead of any actors in Hollywood because in Matthew 25:-39-40 we read:
“When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
It’s not rocket science to think that a disabled person would be among “the least of these” in this modern day.
But there was no outcry from Conservative Republican Christian pastors or their followers on my Facebook page. In fact there was quite the opposite. I continue to respond with dismay at the Tweet storm that this man engages in and how much mockery continues to be a part of his modus operandi. It seems that he lives and breathes to mock others and shame them into oblivion all in the context of, “Making America Great Again”. And day after day after day, Christians are rising up in his defense. The problem with being a Christ follower in 2017 is that we have forgotten what real evil actually is.
According to Drs. Allender and Longman evil is particularly found in the behavior of a mocker.
THE MOCKER: DEALING WITH EVIL There are people in this world who seem to live and breathe evil. In every generation, masters of evil (Hitler, Stalin, Amin, Pol Pot) seem to serve as caricatures of the demonic. There are others, less known, who are involved in ritualistic abuse-the sadistic physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children. Few would dispute, even without definition, the accuracy of calling ing these people evil. Indeed, they are evil. There are many people, however, who do not perpetrate societal or individual barbarity to this demonic extent but who are more than simply arrogant, hard, and hurtful. All of us are capable of doing evil things, but evil people are driven by a self-interest that is so heartless, conscious, and cruel that it delights in stealing from others the lifeblood of their soul.
Dan B. Allender;Tremper Longman III. Bold Love (Spiritual Formation Study Guides) (Kindle Locations 2671-2676). Kindle Edition.
Evil Is Cold – Evil is (for the most part) unfeeling. It lacks sorrow when someone one suffers and joy when there is happiness. But an evil person is more than emotionally detached; he simply will not allow himself to enter the heart of his victim as a person. The victim is an object – an entity to be controlled or destroyed – and not a living, breathing being who feels hurt, fear, sorrow, and shame. In that regard, evil sees the other as nothing more than a service to itself. Most of us will use a paper cup and, when finished, discard it without feeling or concern. As long as the cup is useful, it is used, but when its use is finished, there is no reason to keep it or honor it as valuable. Similarly, an evil person feels nothing toward those who are used to satisfy his craving for unlimited power and control.
Dan B. Allender;Tremper Longman III. Bold Love (Spiritual Formation Study Guides) (Kindle Locations 2695-2696). Kindle Edition.
Though this is just one aspect of the evil I sense being unleashed in our country, it is extremely dangerous when perpetrated by anyone with this much power. I don’t think his Evangelical Christian Vice President has a clue as to the assault he is in for this next four years. Interestingly Paul Ryan knew this aspect of Trump almost at “hello” but now that he too has been given great power as a result of the Trump victory, he rarely, if ever calls the man out on this or other aspects of his bizarre behavior. It seems that now that he won, the whole of the GOP is intoxicated with absolute power and doesn’t really care anymore how they got there.