“Immune: not affected by a given influence” (American Heritage Dictionary).
IF IMMUNITY IS IMPORTANT TO OUR PHYSICAL HEALTH, IT’S EVEN MORE IMPORTANT EMOTIONALLY AND SPIRITUALLY. There are certain influences we need to be resistant to, both physically and mentally, or else these will harm us. And just as there are things we can do to strengthen our physical immunity, there are things we can do intellectually to shore up our defenses.
Immunity does not mean it’s impossible for us to be affected; it means we’re resistant. If we’re immune to a certain influence, it’s less likely we’ll be affected by it. My father was a watchmaker, and when I was a child, I remember him pointing out that most watches claim to be water-resistant, not water-proof. But let me tell you: resistance is an important plus. With some things in life, being even a little more resistant to them is a valuable benefit.
I’m afraid, however, that many of us wrongly identify the things we want to be resistant, or immune, to. In a culture where feelings are all-important, many people, if they had their wish, would want to be immune to suffering, pain, sorrow, and difficulty. But while these things are unpleasant, they often serve useful purposes in our lives. Not infrequently, they produce significant growth in our character. So it’s not these things that we should want to be protected from, but rather those that are morally wrong. More than every other malady, the one we should most want immunity from is the influence of evil, violation of the timeless standards of right and wrong.
There is, of course, no vaccination against evil. There is no insight we can gain that will make us proof against its influence for the rest of our lives. But we can increase our resistance by meditating daily on what is right and making consistent choices in that direction.
Without a doubt, the main ingredient in our immunity to evil is love — not the sentimental thing many call love, but a strong, passionate commitment to seek the highest good of everyone around us. If there is anything that will immunize us against evil, this is it. Real love is a powerfully protective shield, one we can hardly do without.
“The only power which can resist the power of fear is the power of love” (Alan Stewart Paton).