Where there are lies, there is evil. When I think of evil, I think of Sauron, Hannibal Lecter, and Emperor Palpatine. I don’t think of a Sunday School teacher at church.
But maybe I should.
A few years ago I read the book, People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck. I couldn’t put it down. It was fascinating and disturbing, so I decided to compile my favorite creepy quotes in one place, along with my brief commentary:
“When confronted by evil, the wisest and most secure adult will usually experience confusion. Imagine then, what is must be like for a naive child who encounters evil in the ones it most loves and upon whom it depends. Add to this the fact that evil people, refusing to acknowledge their own failures, actually desire to project their evil onto others, and it is no wonder that children will misinterpret the process by hating themselves.”
This is covert child abuse. The kind that happens in “Christian” homes.
“Among themselves, therapists will not infrequently refer to a patient’s psychopathology as being “overwhelming.” We mean this literally. We literally feel overwhelmed by the labyrinthine mass of lies and twisted motives and distorted communication into which we will be drawn if we attempt to work with such people in the intimate relationship of psychotherapy. We feel, usually quite accurately, that not only will we fail in our attempts to pull them out of the morass of their sickness but that we may also be pulled down into it ourselves. We are too weak to help such patients – too blind to see an end to the twisted corridors into which we will be led, too small to maintain our love in the face of their hatred.”
Imagine being married to a person like this. (Some of you are!) If a psychologist feels overwhelmed being with such an individual once per week, how are the family members expected to cope on a daily basis? “…the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20
“Finally, as I have mentioned, very few evil people are willing to be psychotherapy clients in the first place. Except under extraordinary circumstances, they will do everything possible to flee the light-shedding process of therapy.”
Do you know people like this? They desperately need professional help, but they’ll be damned before they submit to such an affront to their pride.
“There is another reaction that the evil frequently engender in us: confusion. Describing an encounter with an evil person, one woman wrote, it was “as if I’d suddenly lost my ability to think.” Once again, this reaction is quite appropriate. Lies confuse. The evil are “people of the lie,” deceiving others as they also build layer upon layer of self-deception….”
Liars confuse us. Confusion and chaos are Satan’s territory. If you are in a state of confusion, chances are you are in close proximity to a liar.
“The attempt to heal the evil should not be lightly undertaken. It must be done from a position of remarkable psychological and spiritual strength.”
Yet so many churches expect a broken down wife to pick up the pieces of her life and be a source of healing for her abusive husband. Um. No.
“…it is necessary that we first draw the distinction between evil and ordinary sin. It is not their sins, per se that characterize evil people, rather it is the subtlety and persistence and consistency of their sins. This is because the central defect of the evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it.”
Did you catch that? This is a key characteristic of an abuser.
“Evil deeds do not an evil person make. Otherwise we should all be evil, because we all do evil things….If evil people cannot be defined by the illegality of their deeds or the magnitude of their sins, then how are we to define them? The answer is by the consistency of their sins.While usually subtle, their destructiveness is remarkably consistent. This is because those who have “crossed over the line” [into evil] are characterized by their absolute refusal to tolerate the sense of their own sinfulness.”
See the repeating theme here?
“A predominant characteristic, however, of the behavior of those I call evil is scapegoating. Because in their hearts they consider themselves above reproach, they must lash out at anyone who does reproach them.”
Do you know someone who takes every piece of feedback you might give to them and turns it onto YOU? As if YOU are the one with the problem? That’s scapegoating. All abusers do it.
“Scapegoating works through a mechanism psychiatrists call projection. Since the evil, deep down, feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world’s fault. Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad. They project their own evil onto the world….Evil, then, is most often committed in order to scapegoat, and the people I label as evil are chronic scapegoaters.”
So I hope it’s dawning on everyone here: abusers are, well, EVIL.
“Utterly dedicated to preserving their self-image of perfection, they are unceasingly engaged in an effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity. They worry about this a great deal. They are acutely sensitive to social norms and what others might think of them. Like Bobby’s parents, they dress well, go to work on time, pay their taxes, and outwardly seem to live lives above reproach. The words “image,” “appearance,” and “outwardly” are crucial to understanding the morality of evil. While they seem to lack any motivation to BE good, they intensely desire to appear good. Their “goodness” is all on a level of pretense. It is, in effect, a lie. This is why they are the “people of the lie.” Actually, the lie is designed not so much to deceive others as to deceive themselves.”
Remember what the Bible calls Satan? An angel of LIGHT. Remember those Pharisees that Jesus had so many nice things to say about? They were whitewashed tombs with dead man’s bones in them.
“Evil originates not in the absence of guilt, but in the effort to escape it. It often happens then, that the evil may be recognized by its very disguise.”
“Since the primary motive of the evil is disguise, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the church. What better way to conceal one’s evil from oneself, as well as from others, than to be a deacon or some other highly visible form of Christian within our culture? …Evil people tend to gravitate toward piety for the disguise and concealment it can offer them.”
Within the church— and within the “Christian” home.
“The reader will be struck by the extraordinary willfulness of evil people. They are men and women of obviously strong will, determined to have their own way.”
They must win at all costs. You are just roadkill in the way.
“As I noted in The Road Less Traveled, it is often the most spiritually healthy and advanced among us who are called on to suffer in ways more agonizing than anything experienced by the more ordinary. Great leaders, when wise and well, are likely to endure degrees of anguish unknown to the common man. Conversely, it is the unwillingness to suffer emotional pain that usually lies at the very root of emotional illness. Those who fully experience depression, doubt, confusion, and despair, may be infinitely more healthy than those who are generally certain, complacent, and self- satisfied. The denial of suffering is, in fact, a better definition of illness than its acceptance. The evil deny the suffering of their guilt – the painful awareness of their sin, inadequacy, and imperfection – by casting their pain onto others through projection and scapegoating. They themselves may not suffer, but those around them do. They cause suffering. The evil create for those under their dominion a miniature sick society.”
And this is why abusive men hiding in their homes need to be exposed. Their homes are sick because they are sick, and they spread their sickness to everyone around them.
They are evil. They are People of the Lie.
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