But from God’s perspective this is an illusion. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in The Gulag Archipelago, “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them, but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
If anyone had a reason to divide the world into good and bad people it was Solzhenitsyn. He was arrested for criticizing Stalin and spent 11 years in labour camps and exile. Such suffering could have led him to believe the world is occupied by evil people, but he is too astute and honest to believe such a lie.
A sure sign of wisdom and maturity is the recognition there is no evil in the world that isn’t also inside me. As Solzhenitsyn honestly observed, “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”
What is more, if we set out to destroy evil we will end up destroying part of ourselves. Any moral crusade, no matter how righteous, will intrinsically be divisive. In the end it will eventually perpetrate the very evil it is hoping to avoid or destroy. Totalitarian regimes around the world give testimony to that. In fact, there is nothing as evil as the conviction that one isn’t evil.
But God, our creator, knows better. If there was such a reality as good and evil people then all God would need to do would be to destroy the evil ones. But since “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), God devised a totally a different plan to save us.
That “there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story” is a lovely thought, but I suspect only God is capable of such love.
Such love reminds us there are no lost causes this side of heaven, including you and me.
Stephen L Baxter