Friday, September 12, 2014
Say 'Yes' When You Mean "Yes"...
"Say 'Yes' when you mean 'Yes" and 'No' when you mean 'No'. Anything beyond that is from the evil one." A lawyer writing on the opinion page of the Peace Weekly tells us that Adam was the first person to violate this teaching.
In the first book of the Bible after Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he hid himself and when God asked him did he eat the forbidden fruit he answered: "The woman whom you put here with me-- she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it" (Gen. 3:12). Adam only needed to say "Yes" but he blamed Eve for his own act of disobedience and with his excuse tried to shift the blame from himself. With the opening of their eyes we have the suggestion where the original sin is found according to the lawyer.
Ordinarily we say it is a sin when we do something that is forbidden and liable to punishment, but when we deny or give an excuse we do not consider the act sinful. Consequently we find words, and acts within society that excuse from what is called sin. We find ways to confront another for their failing but not to make much of it. We find circumstances and motives where we talk around what was done and package it up with many words. In our society to acknowledge our faults detracts from our authority, and can be detrimental to our financial situation, reflected often in our political life. This whole network of denial and excuses can be traced back to the time of Adam.
This is not only doing something that is forbidden but when we excuse our actions we are advancing evil. The American psychiatrist M. Scott Peck (1936-2005) was one who brought this to our attention in his book: People of the Lie, for him evil is a kind of mental problem that has been systematized and needs to be treated. He found in his counseling, evil that didn't fit into the pathological categories of the mentally sick. Evil's characteristic is not to feel guilty, to blame others, cleverly lie, and by the lies cause confusion and disgust. This discovery made him turn to Christianity from the other religions with which he was attracted.
Evil exists in the spiritual and moral dimension but missing in science and in our social domain which gives rise to confusion and misunderstanding. In reality, she says, when we speak about evil in society we speak about it in absolute terms. Dr.Peck sees it as a mental problem. The soul of all of us are in a battle between God and evil, and the doctor makes us understand that the victory is salvation. He has no problem in seeing the devil in all of this.
According to the Scriptures we have to identify and fight against the evil within us which requires obedience. In our speech, we arm ourselves when our 'Yes" is "Yes" and our "No" is "No". She admits that this is not easy for it requires a great deal of reflection but it is what the life of faith requires of us.