Hey y’all, try not to fall in the trap of assigning malevolent intentions to people or things. I really struggle with this one myself, so I know of what I speak. To make it more complicated, people are not all kind and gracious furry bunnies of good will!
The problem with assigning malevolent intentions and perceiving others, like the government, as being out to get you, is that you now have to live in a world full of people out to get you. Laughing here, but is it true? Is the government out to get you? Perhaps, perhaps indeed! However, 90% of your distress about it is now going to be a self inflicted reality based on your own perceptions and vain imaginings.
You will confirm your own biases, you will fulfill your own prophecy.
Grace is a very reflective thing, like a mirror. The Bible says, as you judge, so shall you be judged. As you measure, so shall you be measured. Perceive others with grace, and you will find yourself walking in grace and goodwill, too.
This issue came up recently as I was speaking to some elders, or rather listening to them talk about how they are expendable during corona virus and how people hate the elderly and the immune compromised and want them all to die. They just want to bump us all off! Chuckling here, but I think if we actually had malevolent intentions and wanted to bump them all off, we could find an easier and quicker way?
In all seriousness however, a big problem is that we are now watching news that is not trying to bring us knowledge of events so we can make wise decisions, but rather trying to a manipulate how you think and feel. These people have simply heard over and over and over again that people hate them, want to put their lives at risk, and have malevolent intentions. You’re trying kill grandma. How selfish, how unChristian, what an epic failure to love your neighbor.
Honest to goodness, I can just roll my eyes at such nonsense, but those who have heard it, swallowed it, allowed themselves to marinate in it, must now live in a world of their own making where all these bad people want to kill grandma with their malevolent intentions and pure selfishness. Like, I’m not really the one suffering from this false perception of reality, this assigning of malevolent intentions, you are the one suffering. You are the one now living in it.
We can take this same concept out into the world of conspiracy theories, many of which are actually true! Sometimes the existence of sin is such a shock to our system, we don’t want to believe it. Sometimes we’ve been not looking at things for so long when they do come to light, we just push them away emotionally, dismiss them as a conspiracy theory. Sometimes however, we decide since this one thing has revealed some malevolent intent, everything must be hiding malevolence.
Honestly, I wrestle with these things myself. Do I look at my Governor and think, now there is an intelligent and gracious man with my well being in mind? No, no I do not. I think he’s a total snake at best and a complete baboon at worse. I’m not quite sure which one is worse, but I digress. The point being, I do pray for my leaders because that’s what the Bible says to do. A part of that, “why should I obey” is because it helps to renew your own mind, to clean your own heart, to give you clarity and wisdom, and to help keep you from creating a fake reality where you simply become a powerless victim of other’s malevolent intentions.