Christians admit—at least in principle—that we are all evil, and that we depend on the Lord God for our personal redemption. Therefore, when we the faithful, pray that God remove evil from the world, what is it that are we asking God to do?
Are we asking God to remove us from the world scene? I doubt it. Instead, we tend to do a lot of finger pointing. In reality we each see evil as something outside of us rather than within us. And we do this in spite of the Lord’s warning that we are not to “throw the first stone,” or “see the speck in someone else’s eye” (especially when there is a log in our own eye).
We all want change in the world but we seem to have lost our true focus on what needs to be changed.
In the famous words of the comic strip character Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Wars between countries are a natural extension of, and multiplication of, our personal and individual wars with other people. We war with our spouses, we war with our neighbors, we war with other communities, other states, and finally other nations.
Even within civility we can harbor inner hatred, jealousy and envy towards others.
How do these harmful tendencies fly safely under our personal radar and are never detected by us?
There are two big reasons.
One is religious. The other is the psychology behind self-centeredness. The religious doctrine of salvation by faith alone places almost no value on self-examination and our taking part in the salvation process. In fact, this ill-conceived doctrine puts Christians above the Law of the Commandments and personal responsibility. We are saved through mere belief and trust that the Lord died for our sins, not in our cleaning up our own act.
Self-centeredness also thwarts introspection. While spotting negative traits in others is easy–being a simple matter of observation, seeing these bad traits in oneself is limited to what his or her heart wishes the eyes to see. Seeing evil in others requires mere ocular vision but seeing our own harmful proclivities requires permission from one’s will.
Until we take ourselves to task, we have no real sense of our evil compulsions because they are only detected as pleasures. We derive pleasure from revenge and in dominating a situation. This “pleasure” of always coming out on top seduces our thinking and distracts our reflections.
This psycho-harlotry is what is actually meant by the term “whoredom” used in various stories of Holy Scripture. It is a spiritual condition that causes one to separate his or her faith from life—a condition where faith is not lived or put into action. Instead we prostitute ourselves for a false worldview.
To live one’s faith, one must sincerely love God and neighbor.
One cannot sincerely (inwardly) love God and neighbor unless one knows what is really going on in his or her heart. Only when we take inventory and make unflattering self-discoveries can the Lord God begin to help us. We have to give God a clue as to what we want changed in our lives.
Until then, true Religion will fly under the radar as well.