I often say, the internet is like a peek into the human psyche and once seen it can never be unseen. You just cannot erase your eyeballs or find a suitable bucket of brain bleach.
People, the good, the bad, and the ugly, will often reveal the nature of what lurks in their hearts on the internet. Safely hidden behind keyboards and falsely believing our anonymity protects us, as well as being just plain old ignorant, can make people bolder, braver, more willing to reveal what lurks within them.
It is not all bad, there can also be great beauty hiding within people. IRL, on the ground, we can not always see into the heart, so that ordinary person sitting quietly next to you can have a beautiful soul, a rich inner life, amazing treasures that you don’t even know exist. I call this “Horton Hears a Who,” in honor of Dr Seuss who taught us there can be a whole universe hiding in a speck of dust.
So, strike up a conversation, be kind to one another, set aside biases that lead us to dismiss people out of hand. You just might be sitting next to stardust, or an angel, or a gold nugget cloaked in black clay, just waiting to reveal itself to you. That is the good news, the valuable lesson in all this. Horton Hears a Who…..when he is willing to listen.
The bad news is that sin is a real thing in the world. This may seem like a real “duh moment,” for many Christians, but I have to say, even though I understood that in theory, intellectually, until a decade or so ago, I kind of lived encased in a little bubble or tried to anyway. People are just basically good, some are wounded and just can’t help themselves. There’s no such thing as “bad” people, just “good” people who do bad things.
Muahahaha! I totally retract all those lovely ideas, those fluffy bunnies encased in glitter. In truth I was trying to perceive the world through my own eyes. I actually do have good intentions, I seek the Lord’s favor. Sin is repulsive to me, it breaks my heart to realize I have wandered off the path or done something not pleasing to God. I do not like to grieve the Holy Spirit. It’s uncomfortable, it makes me miserable. I actually attempt to avoid misery as much as possible. I honestly believe God wants us happy, in a state of rejoicing, gratitude, receiving life and it’s many blessings. Receiving Him. Suffering is inevitable, but “Christ didn’t come just to get us into heaven, He came to get a bit of heaven into us.”
A bit disturbing, but something I should have understood from watching all those low budget vampire movies, evil can not see its own self. Vampires can’t even see their own reflection in a mirror. The banality of evil. It looks so ordinary, so normal, it does not even recognize itself. Quite chilling really, a somewhat terrifying idea.
It’s not unlike the way people with genuine mental disorders have no idea their brains are not working properly, although there is nothing evil about those people at all, they simply suffer from a medical condition. The thing is, those of us who often question our own sanity, know to question it, meaning we are rational, not plagued by being under any delusions. Delusions, hallucinations don’t know they aren’t real, they do not know to question themselves. It can be very sad to watch, when you’re on the outside looking in, as the brain struggles to accept what is going on within it. This is so not sin, it simply speaks to the nature of ourselves, how wonderfully and fearfully made we are, how remarkable our brains are, even when they are injured, even as they struggle to heal themselves, to protect the person within.
There really is a person within, we are not our brains, we truly are souls within a body. I have learned this so powerfully from those who suffer from mental disorders. In some cultures, in some parts of the world, those who experienced these things were not perceived as having a disorder as all, but as having been chosen to walk closer with God Himself. They were seen as people called to walk in the spirit world, rather than the physical world. I wish we’d adopt some of these more uplifting ideas, be kinder and more respectful in how we perceive mental health.
Back to evil and the nature of sin however, the world, the culture, seems to have embraced what I once believed to be true too, “People are just basically good, some are wounded and just can’t help themselves. There’s no such thing as “bad” people, just “good” people who do bad things.”
While we are all certainly redeemable, while God is so much bigger and badder than any sin, while the Blood of the Lamb can wash anyone clean, past, present, and future, sin is still a real thing on the world and we do harm to ourselves when we don’t recognize it for what it is.
Culturally speaking, it is much bigger than us. We cannot fight it on our own. All in good humor here, but you simply cannot save the world. At best you can tidy the place up a bit in small places, because the very nature of sin is something larger than any of us, which is why we were given a Savior, Jesus Christ’s victory on the cross, the same victory we can all walk in the shadow of, but the victory is His, not ours.
I say this because there are so many fighting a cultural war, a political war, a war of ideas, as if we can win, as if might can somehow make right, our own might. To fight is instinctual, but from a Christian perspective, surrender at the foot of the cross is the only way to win battles bigger than you are.