The good and the bad together is a mystery

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Thursday, August 7, 2014

THE antiques had a saying: ‘Si Deus est, unde malum? Si non est, unde bonum? This means: ‘If God exists, why is there evil? If He does not exist, where does the good come from?’ This is an intriguing question both for believers and unbelievers. If the atheist or the agnostic says: I don’t believe in God or I don’t know whether He exists, they still are facing the question: where does the good in the world then come from? The parable in the Gospel of Matthew (Mt. 13: 16-17) says: you need eyes to see this and ears to hear this.

According to the parable of the sower, the sacred and profane, light and shadow, the good and the bad, these will forever exist as twins to one another. They are only significant when the other is present for they can be only understood in contrast to the other. This may be the reason why the owner of the field is not annoyed at all that weeds grow along with the wheat.

He did not plant the weed but he was not naïve enough to believe that they would not make an appearance. So he allowed them to grow together. There is no use weeding out the bad seeds. They are so alike and intertwined that one could not help destroy the other in the process of uprooting the weeds. And so God allows good and evil to thrive together. The harvest will determine who will go to the fire and who will go to the barn.


God’s patience allows us the time to change our ways. We must make use of such time so that the better will come out. Both the good and the bad are a mystery, like God is a mystery. He knows how to turn the bad into the good. We need the wisdom of God to discern the good from the bad. For instance, God’s Spirit teaches us to turn calamities into resilience among each other. We know how to recover from the hardships and bring ourselves into new life. Like God, we need also patience with ourselves in times of hardship not to succumb but to survive.

In our ordinary life we quarrel with each other about a lot of trivialities that are not worth making so much noise about. We need patience with ourselves and patience with one another in order to realize this and to make peace again with each other and not war.

We can bring back again harmony into our midst. That is how the Spirit of God works in us. He knows how to turn the bad into the good. But if you don’t have His wisdom to see that then you turn your life into a hell fire.

To come to your real self you have to go into solitude and discover there real peace. Imagine, Fr. Titus Brandsma, the Dutch Carmelite who was put by the Germans in the concentration camp of Dachau for defending press freedom against the ideology of the Nazis. In prison he wrote this beautiful prayer: “Lord leave me here alone with you, and let no strangers come to me. For I never get tired being alone with you”. In our ‘true self’ we will become the incomparable and unique person God intended us to be.

That is why the good and the bad together is a mystery.


Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 07, 2014.


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