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With a sudden shock—an explosive concussion—we were reminded, once again, that evil is in our midst.

The two bombs that killed three and injured 150 more at the Boston Marathon bespeaks of the fact that free societies cannot eliminate all evil acts and maintain freedom.

But the bombings also bespeak of another truth—a truth more mysterious and profound than that of evil—of overwhelming goodness.

As shocking as evil is, it is in the fact that it is shocking that proves the universal subtlety of goodness. It’s appropriate to focus attention on the bombs and bombers, and on the lives lost and altered, but if we’re not careful we’ll miss the heroic beauty of those who rushed in to give aid and comfort amid the chaos and carnage; we’ll miss the mystery of goodness.

Events like the Oklahoma City bombing, the Atlanta Olympic bombing, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the Boston Marathon bombing cause sorrow, outrage, and national unity.

But these events tend to warp our perception and cause us to view the world as all bad, all the time, all over the place. It isn’t. Though there is much evil in the world, the fact remains, in comparison, there is more good than evil. And the runners, observers, and first responders at the marathon testify to this truth.

Perhaps a lone man or a small terrorist cell perpetrated the evil that took place in Boston on April 15, 2013 (the truth will come in time), but hundreds of people sacrificed their treasures, their time, and their talents to save the lives and limbs of total strangers.

We often ask where such evil, as took place in Boston, comes from. We rarely ask where such goodness, that also took place in Boston, comes from. Searching for answers to these, and other questions, is part of the reason I wrote A 911 for 9/11: Finding Answers to the Evil of September 11, 2011.

Whatever the final answer to these questions, this I do know: evil is a deep mystery, but the mystery of goodness is deeper still. And I’m grateful for those at the marathon who taught me that truth once again.

This article originally appeared on April 16, 2013, at derrickjeter.com. Copyright © 2013 by Derrick G. Jeter. All rights reserved worldwide. Use by permission.

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