Only bad people do bad things, right? Wrong. Doubly wrong.

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By John Lapp

The name “Hitler” can strike fear, painful memories, even hatred especially with those of us who lived during that period when this man was doing all of the well-known, documented horrible deeds to humanity, especially the Jews, during his reign of terror masterminding at least 6,000,000 of them.
Though we know the deeds of this man, there are other names that make us cringe when we hear them, names like Stalin, Lenis, Mao, Saddam, Bin Laden, etc. and others too numerous to mention. But I wonder, as I write this article, have any of us recently read the newspaper or watched stories unfold as they relate to people in shocked disbelief that someone who was considered to be a good person by those who knew him/her could have done such horrible things like kill all of their children or some other similar act that seems so bizarre and out of character, especially to those who thought they knew that person to be incapable of such an act?
And, while I don’t really wonder, but know that we all are capable of being equally shocked when we read that the perpetrator of this diabolical act was also known as a community leader, an active member of a good local church, a “good family man” or a “loving mother” who projected such a good example of what a loving mother should be. Well, the question seems to be: are any of us given the combination of desires and circumstances capable of evil, maybe even great evil, the kind that we are quick to condemn in others? Historical information about many well-known people who have not been as widely publicized as those previously cited have been presented by one author, James M. Houston, in “The Mind on Fire: An Anthology of the Writings of Blaise Pascal (1989).”
The author quotes Pascal relative to those of us who have great capacities for achievement in art, science, and compassionate sacrifice, have within us the seeds of greed, hatred, egomania, and destruction. Pascal speaks of our struggle on page 113 of the anthology:
“True religion must teach that there is in man some fundamental principle of his greatness, as well as some greatly rooted principle of his misery.”
While the name Picasso would have most of us consider that he was a genius of untold proportions, the history of this man included that his private life was in shambles and he treated those around him with abuse, even disdain. How could this man of such genius in a particular field have this evil lurk inside him? Worse than that, it affected most of those who knew him intimately, even his wives and mistresses.
It seems to be a dual aspect of many who have been known as one who had both irresistible charm along with shocking reality.
This brings me to evaluate myself and hopefully you will do the same. Am I deluded, thinking that I can see the evil in others while too often concentrating on the good when evaluating myself? Am I blind to my own faults and appear incapable of honest evaluation? Do I hide not only from God and others who think they know me, but also hide from myself?
It would be well for me to stay on a path that God presents in one of the well-known scriptures, found in First Samuel 16:7 (KJV) “ ... for the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart.”
It is amazing that we can only see, and think we know, who that other person is and what he/she is capable of doing, but what about a personal look at myself. Am I what others think of me? And, additionally to that, am I really capable of doing some things that I don’t think I would/could do? Maybe not murder, per se, but evil thoughts, including hatred of someone else.
Is this good for me? What does God think about that? And, although I have never given thought to some of the evil deeds I read and hear about that others have done, am I capable of doing such things? God forbid. Maybe it’s time to get my heart right with God.
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