GM: THE BANALITY OF EVIL, A CONTRITE HEART, AND THE GRACE OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS
It’s hard. Really hard, to live in a country where #peoplearemurderedeveryday. In cold blood! Mostly single murders. But sometimes double! And two days ago, triple.
So too last week; but in addition the three bodies were burnt beyond recognition.
No doubt all of this inspiring one of Jamaica’s most fearless journalist Erica Virtue of #TheDailyGleaner to posted these haunting words on Facebook
“This country is filled with tears! God Almighty lift the veil of death over Jamaica”.
But it’s not just Jamaica, as last week I happened upon this story
And it’s not just crime and violence, it’s immorality and ‘ indecent exposure’, as reported in a letter to the Daily Gleaner this week, about which I tweeted.
And then the persistent abuse that our women face on account of the bhoorisish behaviour of some men, ordinary looking men, sometimes family friends, and even family, who see all women ‘ from dem buss breast’ as potential conquests.
A sad story as revealed by host Dionne Jackson-Miller BTH on RJRFM94 yesterday. And which reality spawned the hash tag #Lifeinleggings, a space where hurting women can share their stories. Or the stories of others too embarrassed to ‘ speak’.
So what has gone wrong!
It cannot be simply Rahm Emanuel’s fault as Mayor of Chicago, or even POTUS ( Obama) who hails from the ‘ windy city’.
It can’t be simply the fault of the local politicians, from Michael Manley right down to the present PM Andrew Holness, although clearly they cannot escape some blame.
It can’t be that ” man just wicked and bad” or that school pickney too ‘ out of order’.
No, as I continued to read the New York Times best selling author Rev. Timothy Keller’s book ” Encounters with Jesus “, a profound problem emerged which we all need to confront, and which lurks deep in the human heart.
” Adolph Eichman was one of the Nazi architects of the Holocaust who escaped after WW 11 to South America, where he was caught in 1960 …..tried found guilty and executed…..
One of the material witnesses was a man named Yehiel De-Nur, and when the man came to testify, he saw Eichman in the glass booth, and immediately broke down, falling to the ground and sobbing……very dramatic.
Sometime later De-Nur was interviewed by Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. ……and said something that shocked Wallace and should shock almost all secular Western people ( Keller’ target audience is secular Western thought that believes there is either no God, or no need for Him).
He said that he was overcome by the realization that Eichman was not some demon but was an ordinary human being. ‘ I was afraid about myself……I saw that I am capable to do this….exactly like he.”
Wow! That’s kinda scary! Nuh true?
( translation of Jamaican slang….”am I not correct”).
And so Keller continues….and it gets worse.
” The scariest thing about that whole chapter of history is not the few individual evil architects of it, but the complicity of vast numbers of people across a society that was producing so much of the world’s best scholarship, science and culture.
That makes it impossible to write off the whole era as the work of a couple of isolated monsters……..
Hannah Arendt, watching Eichman during the trial, reported to The New Yorker, that he was by no means psychopathic, that he exhibited no hatred or anger. Instead he was ordinary man who had wanted to build a career. She called this ” The banality of evil “.
Evil lurks in the hearts of all quite ordinary human beings.
Then Keller attacks the problem of Sin, head on:
“So it would be more honest to say,
‘I’m somehow the same as those who have done terrible things. I am made of the same human stuff.
There must be something deep down in me that is capable of great cruelty and selfishness, and I don’t want to see it…..
And while, for most of us, the self-centeredness and sin in our hearts has not led to overly criminal acts of violence and cruelty, it has still caused misery for the people around us, and has kept us from serving the God who created us and to whom we owe everything.
And Jesus came to cleanse us of this, to purify us from what is spiritually wrong with us. “.
The essence of the #Advent
message then, is that we wait expectantly on, ” this same Jesus who you saw going up into heaven “, to come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
But His second coming ( which is the long term message of His first coming at Christmas), is that the Joy and Peace that we sing about, will only be for those who accept the reality of ” the banality of evil”. And repent and accept His free gift of Redemption – Salvation
That all of us, whether wicked gunmen in Chi-Raq ( Spike Lee’s movie on life in Chicago….as bad as Iraq…..it’s a pity my children warned me that ” Daddy you can’t handle the language”), or in Kingston, or #rompinshoponthebus children, or ‘ the randy hypersexualized males’, have sinned. And fallen short of God’s Glory!
We were all in the same boat together with Adolph Eichman. That’s what the Bible teaches! In a passage to which I was led to ponder on deeply this week:
THE WORD OF GOD
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
— For we are Godʼs handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:1-8, 10 NIV
So yes, let cry out night and day to the only One who can save both America and Jamaica and the whole world from evil. The God of Abraham, Isaac, of Jacob, and the Father of our Lord Jesus.
But the message of Christmas is about ‘ the banality of evil’.
For out of the hearts of men, the Bible tells us, comes all kinds of evil.
From out of the minds of quite ordinary looking people. And even the extraordinary ones and superstars too! Whether on Television, the big screen in Hollywood; whether in The Parliament or in the Senate; or even in the White House, presently, or soon to be knocking on the door.
( It will take many years, if ever, to comprehend how America, leaving the politics aside, could elect a President, who has made #Lifeinleggings a literal ‘ hell’ for some women with his presumptuous predatory acts of #groping.
Whether #IamBolt or #RealShellyAnn; whether #MickJaggerdadat73 or #FirstPeter or #SecondPeter ( journalist and host of HOTLINE on RJR Emily Shields’ characterization of the impending contest between Peter Phillips and Peter Bunting, for the now vacant post of President of the Opposition PNP), and even subjects of unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances, #Lifeinleggings, all have sinned.
So let us cry out this holiday season also like the songwriter: “O for grace to love thee more “. And for power to ” speak boldly about the Crucified One”. Even Christ Jesus.
Let us heed the Revelation shared with me last night at 4:am – as I was awakened and led to read His Word.
” For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy.
I dwell in the high and holy place;
and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit.
to revive the spirit of the humble,
to revive the heart of the contrite.”
So let us do what David did, after he sinned with Bathsheba, #Lifeinleggings, #thebanalityofevil, and was confronted by God’s prophet Nathan, and repented with a ‘ broken and contrite heart’ , as he wrote in Psalm 51.
Let us use the opening verse of one of my Rector’s favourite hymn:
Thou didst leave thy throne
and thy kingly crown
when thou camest to earth for me;
but in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room for thy holy Nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus;
there is room in my heart for thee
And who knows, maybe the Lord will send ” times of refreshing ” and heal our land of murderous gunmen and #backitup #dancehall and #soca culture and easily access to pornography, which is ” blowing the minds minds of young, and not so young, and all of what cause men to disrespect our women.