“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” These words were spoken by statesman Edmund Burke who served in the British Parliament over 200 years ago.
His words come to mind sometimes when I hear another shocking crime story on the 10 o’clock news. It makes me question how anyone in our society could be capable of such evil.
An article I once read that was written by Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, president of the Francis Asbury Society, supplies some answers. He began by telling about his childhood during the Depression days.
Although he looked forward to the smell of bacon frying, he disliked the task of rubbing salt on pieces of pork to preserve the meat. One day, his mother asked him to get a ham from the smokehouse to feed some special company who were visiting their family.
He went out to the smokehouse and brought one in. When his mother cut into the meat, he was shocked by the offensive smell and maggots inside the ham. She turned to him and said, “Son, not enough salt, not enough salt.”
Kinlaw wrote about how he always remembered the lesson he learned from that ham whenever he heard Jesus’ words, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13 NKJ).
He went on to say that you and I live in a society reeking with corruption. Kinlaw said it permeates our culture, the church, and us individually.
“What is the answer?” he asked. “The problem is not that evil is so powerful. It has no power in itself. It only works in the absence of its opposite, and that opposite is holy. Where the holy reigns, evil can no more exist than maggots can live in salt.”
He started me thinking about the struggle between good and evil in every one of us. As a Christian, am I the salt I should be? Could I eliminate some of the rottenness of evil?
The Apostle Paul tells us, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4: 6 NKJ). In Mark 9:50, we read, “Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another” (NKJ).
After Jesus said to His followers, “You are the salt of the earth.” He then said, “But if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out.”
So, are you worth your salt? Just as salt is necessary for good health in our human bodies, we need to be the kind of “salt” necessary to preserve Christian values in our society.
The words of Kinlaw and Burke challenge you and me to take a stand for good and assault evil. It’s a task for each of us, beginning with ourselves and those we rub shoulders with.
Who will preserve our society for future generations?
Jan White is a wife, mother, and freelance writer who lives in Andalusia. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. (This column is one of 80 columns compiled in a recently published boook titled “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.)