The legend of the Phoenix is one of utter destruction but eventual renewal. The great bird that rises from its own destruction to live a new life. Unfortunately. the story is just a myth and a lot of things can be destroyed without any chance of renewal. Some people are destroyed, trodden down under the heel of evil or burned in its flames.
Edmund Burke noted that all that is neeed for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing. The problem is, can we identify evil (or negative and destructive) forces when seen? We like to say there is no evil but reality begs to differ: corporate criminals, political dishonesty, mass shootings, child pornography, domestic abuse, bullying, intimidation, lying, dishonesty, war, murder, and greed. These are little foxes nibbling at the healthy plants of which a productive and happy life are made.
There appear to be three common reactions to preceived evil, as defined by Burke,:
1) To do nothing and hope some divine force will intervene. This path is a down hill coast into fatalism where inaction becomes a virtue and results never our fault. It was - fate. So we watch the flames absorb the Phoenix.
2) To be repeatedly waiting, evaluating, judging, and giving the benefit of the doubt. This path allows the evil to become more deeply entrenched and people to be come more used to it and allow it to continue unchallenged. There is no one around to stop the winds of misfortune that scatter the actions destroying the chance of renewal.
3) To act and take a stand. To speak out against the evil, the lies, the hypocrisy, and the negatives which eat away at the good and the productive. To work for peace, to correct negative situations, to decry injustice, and to fight for human dignity. This path, however, is a hard climb on treacherous paths facing sudden danger at every turn. It requires us being willing to burn with the Phoenix and become part of the rebirth.
Dietrich Bonhoffer was a pastor in WW2 who was faced with a compelling challenge. To see his country destroyed or take action. To follow pacifist Christian belief or to take up a sword. To be acted upon or to act.
Perhaps the problem is waiting until those little evils, those "little foxes" which destroy the vineyards of life, have grown and have become tolerated, entrenched and impossible to remove.
Perhaps it is time for people to speak out against injustices and those evils of life while they are nascent buds. To present twice as many positives as any negatives in overcome evil with good forces of love and care.
When we see evil and do nothing to stop it, our silence is approval.
When we are silent, we allow the evil to grow...and grow...and grow.
Sometimes the greatest act of peace, is to raise a hand and say, 'stop.' Sometimes the most courageous act of pacificism is to speak out. Sometimes the strongest force of justice is to assert truth and demand action.
When do we start to fight evil? When it is first discovered it should be resisted with courage, with dignity, and with grace. Most importantly, however, it should be resisted with determination.