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.


Nitewrit said...

It is an interesting phenomena, isn't it? When we get close to someone, do we block out those other things?

What is with the comment in Chinese: "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya"? Are you familiar with that?


Andrew Clarke said...

No, I'm not familiar with it. I was hoping to find a translation somehow. As you say, it's an interesting phenomenon!

jeleasure said...

What most villians fail to realize, is no matter the outward appearance of a person, the inside is still that of God's image. If people as Adolf Hitler can get away with calling himself a Christian, that is an age old representation of what mark the Christian has missed.

The very tenants of the church are encompassed in love. Paul says the only thing that matters is faith, expressing itself in love. Hitler and his cronies missed that, didn't they?

Andrew Clarke said...

You're right, Jim. I'm reading a book titled "The Essence of the Reformation" by Dr Kirsten Birkett, which explains in depth what the critical difference is between works, only an outer appearance, and true faith.

Greg said...

Hi, Andrew! Why have I not added your blog to my rolls??? Will do that now! :)

I think in these infamous people had an amazing power to brainwash those around them, similar to the abused child that clings even more to the abusing parent. Incomprehensible to me.

But I think more than providing payment and forgiveness for our "dark side", Jesus has the power to free us from it. As He said, "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." And Paul talks of us becoming new creations in Christ, no longer bound by the law of sin and death.

Andrew Clarke said...

Hi Greg. Good to meet you. I agree with you. Jesus does more than earn remission for our sins, He leads us out of them. Real Christians moved by the Spirit avoid certain behaviour. As it is written, "By their deeds you shall know them." Blessings.

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

You touch on a frightning fact Andrew, we all have the capacity to do evil if we let it enter in.

Andrew Clarke said...

You're right, Fr Peter. The tendency to do evil is in us all. One reason I became a Christian was finding there was no mere human, myself included, who could be utterly relied on. Sooner or later we all fail at something, even if we mean well. God help us all.

Farrah said...

Hi Andrew! Now that I'm not blogging, I don't visit other blogs as often. It's good to read you thoughts, as always. :-)

I've been busy with homeschooling. A few weeks ago I got my 4 wisdom teeth pulled out. It went well! Then, I burned my face from water that exploded after heating it in the microwave. Praise God, it was just first degree burns and my glasses protected my eyes! My face is almost healed. :-)

Life is good. I'll have to try and remember to stop by here more often.


Andrew Clarke said...

Good to hear from you, Farrah. I'm thankful you were protected from harm! Since you mention home schooling, it's something I'm getting more and more convinced is a good thing. We thought we would have to home school one of our children, and I can see why it is a growing movement, here as well as in the U.S.