Imitate Good, Not Evil!

3 John 11
Beloved, do not imitate evil, but imitate good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen God.

As creatures we are, at best, sub-creators.  We cannot truly create since to create is, strictly speaking, to make from nothing.  Similarly, as moral agents, we can only, at best, imitate what has been done before, either by the Blessed Trinity, or by fallen angels.  If we commit some spectacular and unprecedented evil we are only, at bottom, imitating the same choice to place self over God that Satan made.  Similarly, in sanctity, we can only imitate the love of the Son for the Father.  We can never innovate or improve on it.  Nonetheless, the fact that we imitate both good and evil does not mean that we are just Xeroxes.  When we imitate good we are sub-creators, co-laborers with Christ (whether we realize it or not) in the making and renewal of the world.  When we imitate evil we are sub-destroyers, working with Satan (whether we realize it or not) in hell’s vain attempt to overthrow God.  As with Satan, all the latter attempt will ultimately do is destroy us, if we do not repent.  But as with Jesus, our willingness to do good is a connection with His Spirit which, if pursued, must always lead back to God Himself and, if we do not turn back from it, to our participation in His divine nature through Jesus Christ.  So imitate what is good.  Hidden at the heart of all goodness is Jesus Christ Himself.  Seek Him and you will find Him.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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  • lkeebler

    Every time I look at the t.v. (which isn’t much) there is some kind of violence showing (just my bad luck?), even the Olympics (not a violence of one person against another at least) showing some guy and the accident he had skating, showing all the blood and horror. Turned on t.v. to watch weather report and turned to Fox news to see for a minute (valentines day morning) and they are showing some horrible beating of a girl by some people while strangers stand by and watch (this kind of graphic violence used to never be shown anywhere). Is this all there is on t.v. because I don’t watch much and every time it is something like this (and then there is the blatant promotion of homosexuality, immorality, stupidity and the rest). Why would anyone want to watch t.v. Some would say, then turn it off if you don’t want to watch… but are we an island unto ourselves… NO we are not!! Are we desensitized by all this violence we see constantly, is that why there is so much more violence and lack of conscience and compassion? This is the evil of the hearts of stone Christ talks about… Christ will give us a heart of flesh but I am seeing how rampant are the hearts of stone of men and women (not only in physical violence towards one another but in the very lack of compassion and the petrifying hatred that exists which turns a heart to cold impenetrable stone). It takes wood less than 100 years to petrify, to turn to stone… and the hearts of men, how long?