When we study the writings of the old time metaphysical or mystical teachers, we find that they taught there was no evil. That particular teaching has created a great deal of controversy over the years.
My dictionary defines evil as: "something that brings sorrow, distress, or calamity, the fact of suffering or misfortune, causing discomfort or repulsion." So, is there evil or not? The answer, as is usually the case when spiritual questions are asked in reference to the physical world, is "yes" - yes there is no evil, and yes there is evil.
So how can there be both evil and no evil? When we look around us and we see what some folks would call evil, we are seeing things related to each other. To this group of people, without good, there would be no evil, without black there would be no white, without up there would be no down, and so on. You see there is duality in a physical world. Duality, polarity, are necessary for matter to exist.
Yet if we choose to see only God, only one instead of duality, could there then be evil, and if so, where is it? If God is all that is, there is no room for evil. No thing, nothing, exists outside of God; thus, where could this so called "evil" possibly exist? Therefore, what we call evil, is just a part of God that we do not like.
So the answer to the question, "Is there evil?" depends on whether you are asking from the human physical world of duality, or the absolute world of seeing only one God.
What did Jesus say regarding evil? Remember he was living in the physical human world at the time he spoke. In Matt. 5: 38 to 42 he said: "You have heard that it was said ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' but I say to you, do not resist evil ... But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other. Also, if anyone would sue you and takes your shirt, let him have your robe as well. And if one forces you to carry a burden for one mile, go with him two miles," Yes, Jesus apparently recognized evil in the physical world, and more importantly he told us how to deal with it. He said "Do not resist it." Yet, if the word "evil" in the dictionary is something that brings us sorrow, distress, calamity, etc., why does Jesus tell us not to resist it?
Why do we resist anything? In our human physical world there is love and fear. They are opposites.
Ask yourself, do you resist out of love, or out of fear? We say that love is the light of God or Spirit; but fear is the absence of light resulting in darkness. Resisting comes from fear and the result is darkness. The harder we push against an object, the harder we resist it, the closer it seems to come to us. When we stop pushing, the object is then free to drift away on its own.
All of life exists with God or Spirit. If we resist life, we are denying that God has made every being and all have their place and purpose, including us. When someone expresses evil, we must remember that they are not thinking clearly. Evil results from darkness, from fear, not from love and light. Since evil is nothing more than the absence of light, the absence of love, what must we do to counteract it? Instead of resisting it, we must absorb that evil with love. That is why Jesus said what he did in Matt 5:38-42 about being struck on the cheek, etc. It is much better to have a sore cheek than to live in anger and darkness, It is better to carry a burden two miles in happiness than to carry the same load one mile in hatred.
When you find yourself being angry, don't stay there; replace those thoughts with ones of love and forgiveness. Ask yourself, "would I rather be right, or happy?" Jesus knew that this material world is a world of duality. We always have two choices, love or fear, and light or darkness. Jesus told us to love our enemies, to pray for them who persecute us, not for their sake, but for ours. In Matt 5:45 Jesus said: "Love your enemies and those that persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father, who is in heaven; for, he makes the sun to shine on the evil and the good, and sends down rain on the just and the unjust," For all exist in God. We are all a unique version of God in expression. We bring light into darkness. How? By loving our enemies, by choosing to see only the good in all situations instead of fear. In this way we become perfect just as our father in heaven is perfect. Is there evil in this world? Your human self may say "yes, of course there is."; but, your Christ Consciousness self says, there is only God, nothing else.
Heaven comes from the Greek word "oranos," which means expanding. So when Jesus told us that it was God's great pleasure to give us the kingdom of heaven, he meant that it was God's desire to give us the great pleasure of expanding our consciousness, Eric Butterworth wrote in his book,
"Unity, a quest for truth," "Unity, or oneness, is an open door to self-discovery for those who are curious."
Barbara Eckhardt is a practicing new thought minister, ordained by the Universal Life Church. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, Md.; the Unity Ministerial School for Teaching Leader Program, Kansas City, Mo; and a Reiki Master. She has a degree in advanced energy healing and is the spiritual leader of Unity Church of Peace at 810 "C" Street in Walla Walla. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.