Seeing, Yet not Seeing Evil

Mat 21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.

Man and Water Buffalo, Philipines, 1945

This carving has been around longer than I have. My father purchased it in the Philipines in 1945 when he was there near the end of World War 2. What has this got to do with abuse and evil? Let me explain.

This carving has been present for my entire life. In the home I was raised in. In my parents’ home each time I would go there to visit. And now it is in my living room. It has been present constantly, so constantly in fact that I don’t even see it. If I were to envision our living room where it is, I probably wouldn’t even include the thing in my mental picture. Common things in our lives are often invisible to us. Seeing, yet we do not see.

And that is how evil is when we are raised up in it. When we live in it. When we are immersed in it. Sometimes we see it but just explain it away, but I think even more often we don’t see it at all. We don’t even think about it. It becomes like the air we breath, like the stop sign at the street out in front of our house that we pull up to every day as we go to work. You don’t even think about it. You stop for that sign, but if you tried later on to call up an actual memory of seeing the sign and stopping for it and looking both ways – you couldn’t. You draw a blank.

I suspect that psychologists have some kind of name for this phenomenon. I don’t know the name, but I do know that the thing exists. And this blinding effect of evil is….very evil. It enables wickedness to abuse us sight unseen. I suppose this is partly what Paul meant when he said that Satan can appear as an angel of light and his servants as sons of righteousness.

This is also why abuse victims sense such a HUGE feeling of relief – so much so that they often break out into tears and sobbing – when someone begins to NAME the evil they have been subjected to for so long. There it is! This is the thing! It is real and it is there and you aren’t crazy.

And those are just some thoughts that this carving brought to my mind today when I looked at it for the bajillionth time – and saw it.