Self-respect is the corner stone of all virtue
Evil sneaks into our lives with charm and subtlety. It is interesting, exciting, entertaining and beautiful in its reptilian way. Evil always begins by telling us something true. So we believe it. Then it tells us things that maybe aren't quite so true, but we believe them also because the first thing was true. If we keep on believing and accepting we eventually say strange things and do things we never dreamed we would do. Eventually we wake up and discover that we've been debauched, degraded and corrupted. Evil has won.
After years of shameful acts, guilty endeavors, malicious, regretful deeds and a degraded life, enjoying a victim's pain and distress,can one, who wakes up to what has happened to them, actually regain any innocence and self respect? Some people do survive. Others do not.
What is wrong with our society that people are not taught to respect themselves at an early age? Why aren't people warned to beware of the pleasant smiling face that holds out the gentle hand of evil? One can forgive a trusting child who in it's innocence is taken in by the predator. The kidnapping of a child is not the child's fault. The question is what happened to the predator that turned him into a kidnapper? What has evil done to that person to bring them to that mentality? What has taken control of the liar, the deceiver, the betrayer, the destroyer, the thief, the torturer, the killer and allowed that person to justify their actions by saying the victim is a fool, when the victim is perhaps one of the most reliable and respectable people in the world. What evil causes the predator to go after a blameless mind?
Those are hard questions and one's this journal is not qualified to answer. The larger question of what it takes to regain one's innocence and self-respect after a contract with evil is important enough to conjecture upon. We learn behavior, good and bad, by observation, example and emulation. Evil doesn't demonstrate anything but itself and is eventually self-destroyed. Goodness, on the other hand, shows itself in many ways. One of the most important is in not responding in kind to evil, aiding it or supporting it an any manner, pointing out to others evil's masquerades and offering alternatives to evil's recipes for disaster. The good man doesn't lie to get gain, doesn't cheat on people, betray their feelings, trick them, disrespect them for being trustworthy and doesn't malign them for their goodness.
A good man will no doubt have regrets, but he will know why and how to avoid those pot holes along they way as a result. The good man will have achieved a healthy measure of self-respect. A good man will be more virtuous today than he was a year ago. And he will attain more virtue in a year's time because he works at it. He learns more and more how to recognize evil when he sees it and how to avoid it and why.
He may treat the crook with compassion or disgust, but he will not do less than provide an example of virtuous life to the extent he is able.
Some day I may be wise enough to consider what warps an otherwise intelligent person into a state of degradation such as I recently witnessed with a former friend. But for now I am gladly returning to a comfortable level of self-respect and trying to wash my thoughts clean of evil.
DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up