Monday, November 21, 2011

Evil. Really.

I'm not sure why, but I read the Grand Jury report from the Jerry Sandusky hearings. It was horrible. I was particularly haunted by the testimony of the then-graduate assistant who walked in on Sandusky performing an unspeakable act on a 10-year-old boy in the showers at night and was so disturbed by it that he . . . left and called his father.

Really. My first thought was just that: really?? You saw this happening, you saw that they saw you seeing them, and you didn't stomp in there and pull that monster off of this child? But then I thought about it more. I put myself in the man's situation. And I'm stunningly afraid that I might have done the same thing.

I've never been exposed to violence and abuse like that. I can imagine walking around the empty locker rooms at night, hearing the noises, turning the corner and seeing that sight -- honestly, it had to have felt absolutely surreal. I can imagine doubting my senses, even my sanity. I'm sure I would have needed to step away and pull myself together, question whether I had actually seen what I thought I saw . . . and by that point, it would have been over, my word against his, and my word based on my shaky perception of the reality of it all. I might not have had it in me to step into the situation either.

I knew a man once who was a former Satanist, and he talked about how so many of us sheltered, comfortable Christians really only conceive of evil in the abstract. We'll say, "Yeah, I know there's evil and there's a Satan," and he'll tell them emphatically, "No, no -- you don't understand -- there is EVIL . . . there is SATAN . . ."

I know there is evil. But do I know it enough and believe it enough to recognize evil when it's staring me in the face? Or do I question my senses, my instincts, the Spirit within me, and call it something more benign? Or walk away altogether, not wanting to test whether or not He that is in me is really greater than he that is in the world?

I'm not sure I wouldn't have responded the same way this graduate assistant did in that situation. But I am sure I would have been haunted by my response for the rest of my life.

1 comment:

Charissa said...

I sort of fell into inner city youth work going on a decade ago now. Seeing what my kids have been through, hearing their stories, attending their funerals, it's changed my faith greatly. I feel like I've become hardened to some of that evil, but in a way that has strengthened my faith and deepened my anger over that evil. I think that sheltered-ness waters down our ability to believe fully the true nature of the one we're battling.i'm not sure what my driving point is here, but I agree with you.