I have met evil. I can tell you I would not have even thought to say those words before meeting evil a year ago. And I haven’t been in a formal war zone, I haven’t seen people being shot; I have been here in Northern Europe speaking with quite ordinary people. That is the fearsome aspect of this experience: how hard it can be to identify evil.
Evil in this case is someone who seems innocuous, or even well-meaning, who may speak of values of peace and love, who seems to practice a positive spirituality. Evil is someone who comes into a situation and destroys it. Evil is someone who has created and perpetuated a conflict, soft-talking others into being on his ‘side’ (where none need exist), and who, by bringing people into a conflict he created and convincing them to choose his ‘side’, exhausted and hurt other well-meaning people. Evil is someone who believes himself he is doing the right thing but does not question if this belief is right, and he does not wait to assess what damage is this doing to others. Evil is the person whose fruits are destruction, exhaustion, psychological distress, and breaking down of relationships. That is the reason the phrase ‘by the fruits, you shall know them’ gives us one of the only clues to the person who are acting out of evil.
What would I advise those who wish to avoid assisting with the destruction that is the fruit of evil? (and I should note, even someone who has been acting out evil, who has exhibited this blind, egocentric push to ‘win’, can of course change. That is what is meant by grace.) What I would say is, if there is a conflict, ask how it can be overcome. Ask yourself if you have listened enough, ask if there is blaming that prevent mutual responsibility. Consider if your acts bring fruits of joy or destruction. Consider if you are being drawn into a worldview that believes in victory and losers. Consider the role of love in the world. And resist evil, refuse their conflicts and needs for victory, for if we do not resist evil it draws us in and destroys the soul of each of us.