Five minutes spent watching or reading the news will cause some serious question about the basis of humanity. Are we a “good” people or are we “bad”? It’s a lot easier to reconcile the Aurora Colorado theater shooting last month by coming to the conclusion that the shooter was/is a bad person. The word “bad” is a category or label we ascribe to those who cause harm. It’s a label to justify our judgement.
We know what to do with bad people: we can hate them. We can judge them, sentence them to prison, put them in confinement, and ultimately be rid of them. Compassion is not needed, grace and mercy are enablers, and pardoning their actions will only cause more hurt in the long run.
If people are generally bad, who can we trust, rely on or believe? The human condition isn’t a selective epidemic that is based on race, socio-economic, or religious people groups.
If I believe myself to be “bad” at my core, I’m going to see others as the same. That is true for viewing oneself as “good” as well. How can I trust someone, be married, or be open with someone if I believe myself and them to be “bad?” The only way that we build relationships is at some point we believe and see the good in the other person. If you risk this belief enough times with people, you’ll be hurt.
Each time we get hurt, we start the process over again. Do I believe the best, or the worst about people? If I have any amount of hope in the goodness of humanity, I’ll try again. But each successive time I get hurt by another, I’m faced with the question: What will I do with my pain?