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An evil spirit from the Lord...
I Samuel 18: 10 The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand; 11 and Saul threw the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.
In an effort to maintain a positive vision of God, bible readers often skip over verses like the one's printed above. It is one thing that the almighty God should have to deal with the imperfections and evil of humanity- but how do we shift our perspective when God is the creator of the evil.
Humanity has spend many centuries trying to separate good and evil, yet truthfully, this separation does not provide as much benefit as we may have hoped. In fact, by labeling others as evil, we are actually doing a great deal of harm.
Here are some thoughts to ponder:
1. When we label people or groups of people as evil, we set ourselves above them in a way that does not provide room for building relationship. This self-appointed arrogance usually closes our minds to the fact that all people have good qualities and all people are imperfect.
2. Let us face an important fact: we like easy answers. When we label a person or group of persons as evil, we have established on of these easy answers that makes our path a bit more clear. It is easier to separate ourselves OR fight against those who are evil. It is not easy to look for pathways into building relationship.
3. All of creation has value. Humanity is not the record keeper of this value. We are a part of the creation that has worth. Evil does exist. Good and love also exists. When we realize this, the work becomes messy because there are no easy answers and no easy pathways. But I believe that when we accept the fact that all of creation has value and that humanity lives in relationship with this creation, we have the opportunity to evolve to a place of understanding community and interconnectedness and new levels.
Sacred stories help us to understand the messiness of the living world. According to this story, the evil came directly from God. I wonder why it was important for the story teller to say this? What does this say about King Saul? About David? About God?
One more thing:
I have a confession. My favorite theologian is Jessica Rabbit. In the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit says, "I am not bad, I was drawn that way."
The storyteller is painting a unique picture of God, King Saul and David. By understanding that the storyteller has a motive will help us find new ways of appreciating the story.
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