The Good and Evil In Me
Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man. Matthew 16:23
In the disastrous consequences of my addiction, I thought my career as a physician was over. There were those though, who insisted it wasn’t. One such physician told me that he knew me well enough to separate the addict in me from who I really was. This amazed me, because at the time, I felt like just an addict. He was able to see a capable physician though and he was willing to do whatever it took to bring me back – which wasn’t easy. He chose to see both the good and bad, when at the time, most people could only see the destruction.
I tend to divide people into good or bad categories, based on my personal experience. If I have a positive interaction with someone, he’s a good person. If it’s a negative one, he’s bad. People of course, are much more complicated than this, being capable of both profound good and horrific evil.
Jesus was able to see both the good and bad in others, specifically Peter, as told in today’s passage. In the narrative, Christ had just informed Peter that he would be the foundation of the church. Jesus then transitioned to describe his impending death, to which Peter objected, This shall never happen to you (Matthew 16:22). Jesus abruptly informed Peter that he was a tool of Satan, distracting him from his mission. He told Peter that his eyes were on his own desires and not God’s. In a few short verses, Jesus went from calling Peter the rock of his church, to calling him the devil. Jesus saw both Peter’s enormous potential and his destructive tendencies.
We too must recognize this about ourselves and others. We’re not all good and we’re not all bad. We can follow God or follow ourselves and we can do both on the same day. When we follow God’s plan, we embrace life, faith and recovery. When we pursue ourselves, we embrace misery. Though we have been forgiven by God, we are still capable of choosing evil. Daily then, we must do whatever it takes to turn from our path to God’s so that we may pursue goodness and life instead of evil and destruction.