I may be presumptuous to think that I would give Plato’s challenge reason to pause and ponder.
But so be it. Here is my answer and explanation to Plato:
Evil is more than the antithesis of good. But it is still Evil; even if it is delivered by the hand of God.
Growing up into adulthood I had to learn that it would be better to show up as “the real me” and be punished by criticism rather than to pretend to be who or what I really wasn’t to simply avoid the conflict.
Growing up into adulthood I had to learn to push back against pleasant and popular things which I knew weren’t proper and to suffer the burden of choosing what I knew would be sound.
Growing up into adulthood I found that when I stood up for who I really am, or when I stood up for what was right, it was often against great threats and opposition. Failing to rock the boat when it was necessary would have avoided all of that. But I learned that temporal peace should not be purchased at the cost of ongoing regret.
Learning to do these things properly would make a huge difference in the effectiveness, sustainability, honor, and privilege to be able to stretch out and do them at all. Standing up within my true identity would mean learning who I was created to be. It would be a call to courage, prudence, long-suffering, a love for kindness and peace. This call would require answers that come from the mouth of wisdom and grace and love. There would be no substitute for knowing God and following Him. The cost of this adventure would naturally involve suffering. But as I fell short in all of these areas my awareness and appreciation and recognition for them would grow. And inadvertently, so would I. And so would my understanding.
Maybe this growth can be called character. Maybe it can be called one’s identity. Whatever it’s called it is life worth living regardless of the cost of whatever inescapable suffering that goes with it. The battle scars of having dared to truly show up and live (even if the scars were the results of sin and stupidity) outweigh the bland narrative of painless comfort and security. (Although those things are good too)
Sign me up for a future where life and relationships can be painless and perfect. It would be great if virtue and value and truth and goodness wasn’t all mixed up with evil and suffering and groaning and damage. But until that future comes there are valid reasons to wait patiently. For I have come to find that for the sake of growth and character suffering has its place in this temporal narrative we call life.
Weeping may endure for a night but joy commeth in the morning (Psalm 30:5)