To Be Present to God in the Face of Evil
The other day I met a really wonderful young Bangladeshi woman named Naz at a Sufi bookstore. During a wonderful talk about faith she asked me how one can forgive another who does not atone, a dominant theme in my beliefs. The answer to that I gave but am still struggling with, is to let go my sense of ownership of anything which stands between myself and another. However, this is a complex ideal, in these days of such evil where people's lives mean nothing to so many people, and so many leaders of nations today. But, that is the core.
William Penn said it is wrong to honor evil people. His use of the word honor is complex, and means a number of things, in part it meant to obey evil people. But, I am sure, he also believed we should love God in evil people.
What it means to love God in an evil person is also an unfolding struggle. Recently, I found myself in partnership with an evil person, a person whose greed was such that he would destroy any friendship to get what he wanted, and was not secure in himself to ask for those things. I was in a difficult position as the objects I was building, I could give him, but the funding entrusted to me by others, was not mine to give, so I had to find a way to put aside my deep belief in the project while protecting the money of others. This path of discernment was not easy, but the hard part was not letting go of objects dear to my heart, the hard part was giving up on the attempt to find a path to God in the other.
This is not to say I have not forgiven this evil person, I forgave him as he destroyed the project I so loved.