In the late 80’s I worked at a large grocery store in Columbia, Missouri while I was in college. During the process of unloading groceries and shelving them sometimes the labels were torn off the canned goods. If we noticed the label fall off we could mark what was in the can and sell it at a reduced price. If we didn’t see the label come off and just found the can without its label, well that created an interesting problem. In today’s market you would not be able to sell an unlabeled can. Back then, one of our managers got the idea to start a bin of unlabeled cans and sell them at a much reduced price. The price was something like 5 cents a can. It seemed like a good idea but it didn’t work very well. Guess why? No one knew what they were getting. What if it turned out to be canned okra? That’s 5 cents wasted, you have to suppress the wretch reflex and get rid of the can.
Labels are helpful aren’t they? They let us know what to expect. They help us find what we need and avoid what we dislike. Imagine if you went to the drug store and they had a bin full of bottles and boxes without labels for 5 cents each. Would it be worth it? Or what would you do if you discovered your pharmacist was receiving his drugs, pouring them out of the bottle into a big pot, so that all the different drugs were all mixed together there in the pot? Aspirin, birth control pills, blood pressure medicines all there in the same pot. Then when someone came in with a prescription he would just dip out the number of pills they were prescribed from the pot and say, “There you are. You are sick so here is some medicine.”
Not having labels is dangerous.
Since we began rejecting Christianity and the Bible in the U.S. we have been operating without clear labels for what is Good and what is Evil. Some would say we don’t need those labels. Yet when we see Evil like we saw on Sept 11, 2001 we all seem to instinctively know that it is Evil, but what about the experience tells us that it is Evil? I would like to offer definitions of Good and Evil that would help us understand more of the nature of Good and Evil for thought at least. Maybe these will help some with life decisions too.
Good is that which creates, protects, builds or promotes an individual’s life, health, character, property or potential. The scope of this definition is very broad but Good is a vast and adventurous way of life. Don’t get me wrong Evil has its lures too, but Good has been greatly overlooked for adventure that builds a fulfilled life.
Evil on the other hand is that which damages, diminishes, or destroys ones life, health, character, property or potential.
I think these definitions would be good standards to measure a new job offer, an organization that you are evaluating, a political party, a religion or a philosophy. They are not infallible but they will go a long way to discerning what would be a healthy choice.
Don’t just settle for whatever comes out of the “pot” at the pharmacy. Remember, Evil’s nature is to harm. Be ready to evaluate and respond appropriately to the next big decision that presents itself to you.
The next post I'll try to explain how the Bible shaped these definitions for American's for generations.