Desert Wisdom: The Progression of Evil

Poemen was once asked to comment on the phrase, “Do not render evil for evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

Poemen spoke of the progression of evil in four stages: beginning in the heart, then in the face, then in words, and finally in deeds.  He told the brother who asked that the place to defeat evil was in the heart (i.e. purity of heart).  But if that was not possible to chase it through the other two stages (face and words) attempting to stop it before it reached the stage of deeds.

A victory anywhere along the way is still a victory, but once the deed is done, it cannot be undone.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Desert Wisdom: The Progression of Evil

  1. Cindy Schutz says:

    in my work at an elementary school media center(k – 6th graders), I see the faces of ALL the children as they come in the door…you can tell immediately if they are having a good day or not…I try to smile and find a way to get them to smile, sometimes I have the moment alone with them to probe deeper and help them through this ‘anger’, ‘disappointment’ or ‘whatever’. Sometimes all it takes is a smile to move them and me along in another direction-

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