Who’s to Blame?

by Michael Maciel

The evil of the world doesn’t fall out of the sky. It falls out of our back pockets.

Lent is the time for everyone to take responsibility for their own sins, not strap them on a scapegoat.

As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained.”

This is not the time to blame others. It’s the time to come clean with ourselves. We MUST ask, what is MY part in all of this? What in me is contributing to the evil?

Unless we do this (and what better time to do it than Lent?) all of our thoughts and prayers do no good whatsoever. Nada. Zip.

When Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” wouldn’t that mean acknowledging the evil in ourselves? Isn’t that in keeping with “we are all one”?

What it doesn’t mean is doubling down on condemning the evil “out there.” Nope. That’s hypocrisy. That’s projection. That’s spiritual bypassing. We don’t become more spiritual by condemning others.

Lent is an inward time for us all. If Christ (the Son/Sun of God) is to rise from the dead (our ignorant, hateful, prejudiced selves), then we’re going to have to do better. Way better.

“Love your enemies” means nothing if we fail to recognize that our enemies are of “our own households.” They are not “out there.” Spiritual maturity begins with this awful truth.

It’s only when we are at peace with ourselves that there will be peace in the world. It’s what we hate about ourselves that creates wars and genocides.

The question then is, “how do we love the evil?” Both in ourselves and in the world. That’s a hard one. Hard but not impossible. It begins with how you define “love.” It doesn’t mean inclusion. We’re not talking about some kind of spiritual “multiculturalism” here. It’s about integration.

This is the great secret of spiritual work. How to integrate dark with light. Spoiler alert: neither obliterates the other. (Yin Yang, anyone?) It’s not easy, it’s not simple—it’s necessary. 

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