Thursday, February 11, 2010

A modern parable

Did you ever hear of someone who made themselves really evil, but some people still stand up for them? Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin would be two of the most abominable human devils the world has seen, but they both had devoted female partners and other followers loyal to them. And there are plenty of less famous examples: brutal, evil and violent individuals, gangsters, underworld figures, who have loyal friends and partners. Sometimes if a person is asked, how could they stand by someone like that, they answer 'You don't know them like I do.'
Well it might be good to see the good in someone, but it can be criminal stupidity to deny the evil that they do, as well.
Eva Braun married Adolf Hitler shortly before their deaths. It would be informative to know how she could be near someone who did what he did.
It seems Adolf Hitler was known for being kind to animals, and children - unless they were Jewish, Gypsy, or handicapped and consigned to euthenasia or the death camps. Josef Stalin had a loyal wife and several children. Did the woman who shared Stalin's home life know about the gulags?
The issue here is, can you relate to a person only according to their good side, or is it dishonest to do so? Does the bad they do exist inseparably with the good?
A classic modern parable here is Robert Louis Stephenson's work, "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde." The terms "Jekyll and Hyde" are now part of the English language. That story shows the tragedy of it. It came about that, when Mr Hyde finally met his end, Dr Jekyll died with him. It couldn't happen any other way. Because they were both parts of the same person, to stop Hyde doing what he did, Jekyll had to go down too. Edward Hyde did gruesome and foul things like stomp on little children. Henry Jekyll saved peoples' lives. But to stop Hyde killing people, Henry Jekyll had to be locked up (or killed) with him. It was impossible to have Jekyll without also having Hyde. And that is both the tragedy of the good in a person being destroyed by the bad; and the impossibility of only recognizing the good in any person, and denying the bad.
Hyde is a fictitious figure, and an extreme case, but the point still stands. A human can be destroyed entirely if the bad in them is too severe. Having a good side doesn't make it all right. In controlling Hyde, you must also lock up Jekyll, because wherever he is, Hyde is there too.
That story seems to me a modern parable. It shows something about the human condition and life. You can't let a person be seen only by their good side, and ignore the bad if it becomes too severe. We all have a down side, but most people keep it under control, or the world would be impossible to live in. But the sinful side can't be ignored. That is how it GETS out of control.
It shows something about the truth of God and Divine Judgement, as well. I believe R.L. Stephenson was a Christian, and his inspiration for the story may be from his faith. God cannot ignore our bad side and only see our good, because He is Truth. That is why we can't attain salvation by our own deeds and works. We have a Henry Jekyll side, but also an Edward Hyde side. The two are part of the one individual. You can't lock up Hyde without Jekyll being locked up as well. So God can't admit the Henry Jekyll to His kingdom without the Hyde entering at the same time. His solution? Take on Himself the punishment for what Hyde does in us all. Suffer excruciatingly on the Cross and bury it. Then the evil we do is paid for.
But simply on our own merits, we can't enter God's peace and kingdom because no matter how much Jekyll we might claim, we can't deny the Hyde. We have to be forgiven. We need to remember that.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What's happening?

I wihs I knew what to think about the American Christian missionaries arrested in Haiti. The claim is that they wanted to rescue orphaned children from disaster and give them shelter and safety. The plan was to have them adopted in the U.S. If that is what they intend, then it sounds to be humane and good. But now the accusation is that some of the children were not real orphans, and the missionaries have been accused of child trafficking. Can anyone tell me what is happening? It's disturbing to see Christian brothers and sisters in distress, and being locked up in a country like Haiti could be a nightmare. Putting it bluntly, that nation has a bad reputation for corruption and it's in a state of chaos as well, after the earthquake-not that they can be blamed for that! So I've prayed that they will be upheld and that the truth will be fairly stated. That's the point, though: is it a case of Christians doing the Lord's work, and being persecuted by the world, which resents what Christians do sometimes. Or are they misunderstood, and being misrepresented? Or did those people really take some liberties with Haitian people that they should not have done?
It is a great humane calling to help those in need. There really are some Haitian orphan children who badly need such help. We have some young Haitians in Australia, adopted by Australian families, and two brothers recently expressed their gratitude for it. Still, it sometimes happens that those claiming to help get rather heavy-handed and presume to do things without making sure their help is wanted. So that is what I'm wondering: did these missionaries set out to follow God's calling and find their actions were misunderstood, or did they get carried away and overstep the mark?
I should pray for their well-being no matter what. I've made too many mistakes myself to reproach anyone else. It's just that I'd be glad to know what's happening. If anyone reads this and can tell me more, I'd be glad to hear. Blessings.