When we get frustrated with people and begin to skirt the periphery of hatred, maybe we should consider a few things. When we come to despise them and wish to rid ourselves of them, maybe we should ask who they really are and what they’re really experiencing. When our tolerance level has long been surpassed and rage is all we know, maybe should drop our guard, step back for a moment, and take another look. When we can no longer see their humanity through the veil of their behaviors, maybe we should ask what’s behind the veil, because Jesus would ask that. Maybe we should consider some of these things:
Might We Consider That They Are People Who…
They are people. They are not the cause that they engage in, although they may wear it well at times.
They are not unlike us, although our differences would lead us to believe so.
They are not monsters. Clearly, we would not want them to think that of us when our behaviors get the better of us, as it sometimes gets the better of them.
They want to believe in something bigger than themselves. Yet in the pursuit of lesser agendas, they may have come to live with the incessant frustration of never having found a cause that was big enough to be that big.
They can get greedy, but that’s often the fear of losing something while living with the pain of already having lost too much.
They are people who are driven by their fears, because far too often their fears have trampled their inspiration and swallowed dreams, leaving them with nothing but fear.
They are people who react out of hopelessness because it’s likely that everything that they’ve dared to hope in claimed the part, played the part, and then failed the part.
They are people who want something good as much as we do. It’s just the fact that ‘good’ has been defined as so many things that it is not. And over time, good has come to be accepted as a threadbare myth and hopelessness as a brutal reality.
They are people who are afraid of rejection, so they create a narrative that justifies their rejection of us before we can pen the first line of our own narrative.
They are people who are angry and who have defined us as the source of that anger. And they have done that because they are convinced that accepting the fact that they are angry at themselves is certain to create an anger that will destroy the whole of them.
They are people who are scared, but who’s greatest fear is to admit that they are. Therefore, they live life pretending that they are not so that they can pretend that they are living.
They are people who are lonely, but who have long decided that loneliness is much preferred over the brutality of yet another betrayal that they believe we are about to perpetrate upon them.
They are people who feel misunderstood, but who have confused misunderstanding with the fact that we have far too often chosen not to listen to them in the first place.
They Are People
They are people. They are God’s children. All of them. They are made in His image and have been granted a purpose that they may have discarded, but they were granted one that still stands at the ready. They may have taken the hope of salvation and rejected it outright. However, the empty tomb remains empty for the taking. They may play the fool and walk paths that are both dark and foreboding, but darkness is only the absence of light. They may have done more harm than good, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Yet the fact of the matter is, there is nothing that can’t be healed and no mess beyond cleaning.
They are people…just like us. They are God’s children in the same way that we are. All of them…including us. And if we dare to see them through different eyes, maybe through Jesus’ eyes, then maybe we can begin the long-awaited process of healing this terribly broken world that is made up of terribly broken people like you, like me, and like them.