What does the devil look like? Does he have horns, tail, and a pitchfork? Or is he unassuming, mixing in with the crowd like a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
Hint: it’s the last one. He looks just like you and me.
So what can we do to avoid being negatively harmed by the devil, or evil – if we don’t know what he looks like?
The answer is simply to be good. You must think of your neighbor as your neighbor, and not some mark to ruse money away from. Doing that is trespassing against him. And trust me, the more you do that the more willing you will become. Guilt eventually fades away and you will become used to fooling others from their money as though it is nothing. It doesn’t mean it’s ok. It means you have hardened your heart to goodness, and also hardened it to your responsibility to others.
So if you see others as simple marks, as lesser than yourself, or as nothing more than a way to your own fortune, then look in the mirror if you want to see what the devil looks like. That’s right. It’s you.
But it’s also me. And everyone else. We are all born into this physical world – all born in need of one thing or another. And life is certainly nothing but temptation. We all fall short of what is expected of us at one time or another. And amidst that temptation we are asked to be considerate to others. Not by words. Not by training. But rather we are asked to be considerate through our hearts. God gave us this incredible gift of conscience, to know right from wrong – so that we need not memorize every letter of every law. We simply need to follow our heart’s guidance, which lets us know when we do good and when we do bad.
If you get a windfall of money by fooling someone else, then that good feeling you get does not come from your heart. It comes from your desire. You only need to learn the difference.
Here is a good rule of thumb to do that: If your action hurts another person, it’s evil. Period. It doesn’t matter what you convince yourself of, or whether or not you believe in deity at all. In fact your belief in God has nothing to do with your goodness. You are either good, or you are not. A belief in God can actually backfire, and cause us to harm others by being prideful in our own religion, by causing others to become resentful, jealous, or experience any other number of sins. There is no doubt that the current bout of terrorism we encounter is based on religious differences, as many wars have been.
So the next time you wonder what evil is, know that it is not a little red devil with pitchfork and tail. But we ourselves. Strive to always be good. Never think someone else is lesser than yourself, even if he is a sinner.