Knowing Good and Evil…
We cannot be blind to the world around us:
For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise as to what is good, and simple as to what is evil; then the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. -Romans 16:19-20, NAB
There are Catholics and Christians who seem to live in different worlds. Some choose to live in a fantasy land where everything is good, and they fail to acknowledge the evil in the world. Others see nothing but evil in the world and struggle to find the least bit of good. From one extreme to the other, both of these views are wrong.
In the Western Culture, it is often said that people are generally good people. Except for a few bad apples, the rest of the bunch tries to do good. But, by who’s standard? By our standards? Sure. Unfortunately, we set the bar pretty low. Being a good person takes real effort. You’re a good person not only because of what you don’t do, but also because of the positive things you try to do. That’s the missing piece for many people. It’s not that they are overly bad, but do they really know what it means to be good?
Others in our culture have a very dark view of the world. They see the world as completely evil, with no hope of salvation. There are groups that beileve that the world is so sinful that the end must be near, the world is coming to an end, and few will be saved. In some respects, that may be true. The world is a very sinful place, but generations of people have said the same thing. To their dismay, we’re still here! There is no doubt that evil exists in the world, but that is slightly different (sarcasm intended) than thinking the whole world is one big Sodom and Gomorrah.
Being wise to the good and evil in the world means understanding that the world is full of both. Good people all have at least a little evil in them, and evil people have a little bit of good. It’s not black and white. We’re not all evil or all good. The more quickly that we understand that, the faster we can do more good and less evil.