Monday, January 30, 2017

Evicting the Wrongdoer From the House of Your Heart

Tree canopy, in my back yard

Yale theologian Miroslav Volf writes of his military service in the Yugoslavian army. Volf was a Christian in an atheist, socialist society (in Yugoslavia atheism and socialism were the same). For his faith, he was punished.

Volf was unaware that many of his fellow servicemen were ordered to spy on him. They collected conversations and papers that would indict him of sedition and insurrection. Ultimately he had to appear before the authorities and was accused of being a spy and a traitor.

While not abused physically or sexually, he was tormented psychologically. So much so that years afterward Volf could not get the fearful memories out of his mind. He writes:

"My mind was enslaved by the abuse I had suffered. It was as though Captain G. [his tormentor] had moved into the very household of my mind, ensconced himself right in the middle of its living room, and I had to live with him." (The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly In a Violent WorldKindle Locations 65-67)

Volf's punishers stayed in the living room of his mind and interrogated him again and again. What could he do to finally evict his accusers from the house of his soul?

The answer was: to not allow evil to win. He writes:

"To triumph fully, evil needs two victories, not one. The first victory happens when an evil deed is perpetrated; the second victory, when evil is returned. After the first victory, evil would die if the second victory did not infuse it with new life. In my own situation, I could do nothing about the first victory of evil, but I could prevent the second." (Kindle Locations 91-93)

Evil can be overcome with good (Romans 12:21). This is done by:
  • loving the wrongdoer
  • forgiving the wrongdoer
This is Core Christianity; viz., "to embrace the heart of the Christian faith is precisely to be pulled beyond the zone of comfort into the risky territory marked by the commitment to love one's enemies." (Kindle Locations 101-102) Without this your abusers will take up permanent residence in the house that is your heart.