I have often harmed people in my desire to do good. Here is a perhaps familiar scenario: a friend goes through various problems and confesses them to me. I feel as if I am one with my friend (didn’t Aristotle say that a friend is an alter ego?), but also untouched directly by his problems, so in a sense objective. I perceive that I have the capacity to see the source of his misfortunes. Wishing his well-being, so in the name of the good, I perform a cleansing, just like a doctor would extract the cancer: I expose the disease and tell him what to do to get rid of it. And this gives me joy, because I feel as if I contribute to my friend’s, and by consequence the world’s, well-being. But I soon discover that my friend lies dead next to me, under the heavy blow of my “healing” words, which were perceived by him as just as many hammers.
Is it possible to harm when one’s words come out of love?
Perhaps when love is not perfect. And love is not perfect when it is mine or when I consider that I am the source of it. Can I be the one who heals my brother?
Once, I heard someone say this, “Lord, deliver us from those who want to fix us!”
Terrible thing, really, to want to fix the world or one’s peers–the manifestation of the devil in history.