Sunday, July 29, 2012

on the root cause of evil

However absurd the statement may appear to one who has not yet discovered the fact for himself,
the cause of every man's discomfort is


moral evil
  • first of all, 
  • evil in himself, his own sin, 
  • his own wrongness, 
  • his own unrightness; and then, 
  • evil in those he loves:  (with this latter I have not now to deal;)

  •  the only way to get rid of it,
  •  is for the man to get rid of his own sin. 

No special sin may be recognizable as having caused this or that special physical discomfort (which may indeed have originated with some ancestor);

but evil in ourselves is the cause of its continuance,
the source of its necessity,
and the preventive of that patience which would soon take from it,

or at least blunt its sting.


 Foolish is the man, and there are many such men, who would rid himself or his fellows of discomfort by setting the world right, by waging war on the evils around him, while he neglects that integral part of the world where lies his business, his first business--namely, his own character and conduct. 

Were it possible (an absurd supposition) that the world should thus be righted from the outside, it would yet be impossible for the man who had contributed to the work, remaining what he was, ever to enjoy the perfection of the result; himself not in tune with the organ he had tuned, he must imagine it still a distracted, jarring instrument. 

The philanthropist who regards the wrong as in the race, forgetting that the race is made up of conscious and wrong individuals, forgets also that wrong is always generated in and done by an individual;

George MacDonald

that the wrongness exists in the individual, 

and by him is passed over, 
as tendency, to the race; 
and that no evil can be cured in the race, 
except by its being cured in its individuals:

tendency is not absolute evil; 
it is there that it may be resisted, 
not yielded to.

There is no way of making three men right 
but by making right each one of the three;
but a cure in one man who repents and turns, 
is a beginning of the cure of the whole human race.

(George MacDonald, Hope of the Gospel)