“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil.”
Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in The Gulag Archipelago
I often think about this quote in terms of the Israeli-Palestinian mess, or any kind of religious conflict, but can you imagine if our country’s political leaders believed this? What would Washington look like if each person was so aware of their own contradictions that they could disagree passionately without ever demonizing “the other side”?
But that’s easy. Here’s a more difficult question: What would MY life look like if I could fully internalize this truth and let it infuse every part of me? What if I could pursue what I thought was right without having to prove the other wrong? What if I could learn to see and value the good and beauty inside ‘my enemies’? What if I became an absolute expert on the evil corners of my own heart, and instead of wallowing or denying, I humbly held on to grace?
I have resorted to “either/or” “bad vs good” thinking way too many times in my life. (And wouldn’t you know it, but I always happen to find myself on the “good” side. What a coincidence!). There is a time to stand up and courageously speak the truth as we see it, but I’m really tired of all the sawdust in my eyes getting in the way. (M 7) There must be a better path.
O God, please have mercy on us all. Give us eyes to really see, ears to really hear, and hearts to take it all in.