A few days ago, I made the mistake of reading an article about the corporate cartels that run the country and which are destroying the world. I felt a huge anger well up inside me. I snapped at the people close to me and when I went grocery shopping I felt like running over the people in my way with my cart.
I thought, “Surely this is a righteous anger. After all, innocent people are losing freedom and being killed because of these practices.” The fruit, though, was not righteous. My husband had to listen to me rant when he wanted to relax after work. I didn’t smile or have any nice conversations at the grocery store because I’m sure I had a visible black cloud over my head.
I decided that the anger wasn’t good. After all, I had deliberately set it aside a few years ago in favor of better mental health.
Yet I’m not a fan of inaction. I don’t want evil to win.
Fortunately, I came across the Tao Te Ching yesterday. I started reading it, and found this:
Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.
I thought about it and thought about it. I read some more of Loa-Tzu’s writing. I started getting really excited, because I realized that God had revealed The Way of Jesus to the Chinese before Jesus made His earthly appearance. I remembered that Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek. To give someone who takes your coat your cloak as well. To go the extra mile after being compelled to go the first one.
He is teaching us to not oppose evil.
It took me a minute to wrap my head around this. After all, in our culture, Christians tend to be first in line to oppose perceived evil, often standing up for the death penalty, protesting abortion and lobbying for marriage laws to stay unchanged.
What would Evil do if we gave the person on death row a big hug? What if we held a woman as she cried after having an abortion? What if we applauded love and simply lived our lives according to The Way so that if someone was doing something wrong, Evil would skulk out of his life, ashamed of itself?
I know that Lao-Tzu’s statement was God-inspired, at least as much as I, a mere human, can know anything at all about this sort of thing.
About a year ago, I had a dream. In the dream, God said, “You are going to be martyred.”
A door opened, and I found myself in a prison cell with two malevolent witches. They had every intention of killing me. I wasn’t too happy about the situation, but I felt resigned, since God had already told me what was going to happen.
I looked at the witch across from me. A feeling of great compassion came over me, and I reached out my hand and gently caressed her face. The anger completely left her, and she was transformed. I woke up before the other witch could kill me.
I think this dream was God’s way of showing me that softness transforms hardness, that love conquers evil — at least some of the time. Sometimes, evil is pretty resistant to love, I think. But you become what you focus on, which is why people who subscribe to running magazines, buy running shorts and run every day often become marathon runners. This tells me that focusing on evil is not the right thing to do.
So I will not rage against the machine. Instead of protesting Monsanto, I’ll take joy in growing my own tomatoes. If I have an opportunity to give some to my neighbor, I will.