I believe people are worse than we think.
I believe people are better than we think.
As a Christian, I’m both a pessimist and an optimist at the same time.
I’m painfully aware that we are capable of the worst sorts of evil, and worse, that we too easily turn a blind eye to the real grief of others. Many of us are so sheltered that we deny how deep such depravity runs in our veins. We laugh it off, we whistle past the graveyard, we gloss over the wounded. I’m pessimistic because I see how awful we can be.
I’m also painfully aware that we can be manipulated into thinking people are one-dimensional cartoon caricatures, so much that we become cynical and jaded over the possibility of change. Our very real fears are often exaggerated by a binary social narrative that has us ravenous for blood. We forget that each of us do have hopes and dreams and passions that overlap and interweave. I’m optimistic because I see how harmonious we can be.
I’m hopeful that the best of us, within us and among us, can build bridges through open scars and new stories through broken hearts. That we can give a voice to our uncertainty. That we are on hand one not extremely dismissive, and on the other hand not completely nihilistic. That we validate each other’s concerns and lean into our very real wounds, while not buying into the back-and-forth backlash of answering hurt with hurt.
I am holding space for our fears.
I am holding space for our hopes.
I’m a cynic and a critic.
I’m a believer and I’m with you.
Will you be with me, too?
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8 thoughts on “The Worst of Me, the Best of Me.”
I agree. I have met people that are more wonderful than I would have thought possible and some that are more cruel than I would have thought possible. Unfortunately some are in both categories. They are the worst because there is a greater letdown when someone that we think is a friend back stabs us. Those people are the ones that put up a great front. They act like Christian friends until you let down your guard then they strike with all the cruelty they have stored up during the time they pretended to be a Christian friend. We shouldn’t get the idea that there are a lot of these people but it isn’t unusual to have at least one in a church that tries to drive people out and ruin the church. They are subtle in the way they do this. They start by gossiping about someone in the church until they turn others against them. Once they sew the seeds of discontent in the church people leave. Some leave because they don’t want to be around the back stabbing. Most are driven out by the gossip about them. When they have driven out their victim they start on another. I believe these people are controlled by the devil to destroy churches. I have met some that aren’t christians that are nicer than these people. Unfortunately cruelty is contagious. many times it is like a disease and is passed on to others who pass it on. It makes me wonder if these people care about how much they hurt others. My experience with these people has made me be more sensitive to the feelings of others so I try to be even more careful about how I say things so I don’t hurt anyone. We are so thankful for people that don’t have a cruel streak and let them know how much they are appreciated.
Right on, Gordon. To be fair, I may have been on both sides of this. In other words, I have a war against myself brewing inside me, too.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this JS. I, too, believe this is the conundrum of the human condition. People are generally good, just very self-interested.
Yes, I remember hearing that the theme of nearly all drama is: Not so pure that he is beyond corruption, but not so corrupt that he is beyond redemption.
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Great post! It’s harder to caricature people we know. We need to spend more time building up those around us!