The malevolence and magnificence of human beings

May 31, 2022

I have started and deleted a number of posts reflecting on the two mass murders that are gripping our nation. I have listened to and read many opinions regarding solutions to our “plunge backward and downward toward barbarism”. Some responses have been thoughtful and made me think hard and long. Too many have been idiotic, inhumane political screeds that made me sick.

My considerations are not about gun control or safety, although I have opinions. My thoughts are not centered on better policing or crafting stronger defenses. My ideas are centered on the transformation of human beings. It is here, I believe, we must take our stand. It is the long way out of this mess, but it is the most sure.

If you have followed me or my writings for any amount of time, you would gather that I am a humanist at heart. Meaning, I believe in the magnificence of the human being. I believe we were created “in the image of God” with the potential to realize a calling that contributes to the healing of this world.

So why do some human beings turn malevolent…wickedly murderous? Mental illness? Yes, a small percentage of human beings experience homicidal ideation as an expression of their psychosis. But I wonder how many malignant individuals could be diverted from their evil thoughts by a patient, loving mentor? Or, if mentally ill, could be ushered into mental treatment by a caring loved one?

To realize our inherent magnificence we all need…

Someone who loves us.

Someone who is paying attention to us.

Someone who believes in us.

Someone who says to us, “Here’s what I see in you.”

Someone who corrects us.

Someone who points us to our calling.

Someone who patiently teaches us.

Someone who weeps over us.

\Absent any of that, is it any wonder why human beings devolve into inconsequence or even madness? This kind of mentoring effort is painstaking and demanding. It is certainly anything but a quick fix. And though there is no guarantee that this one-on-one personal focus will always result in a transformed life, it sure is more promising than partial political fixes.

\We were “built to count as water is made to run downhill. We were each placed in specific contexts to count in ways that no one else does. We each have a magnificent destiny.” (Dallas Willard) What every human being needs is another human being to lovingly remind each of us of that truth and patiently guide us into a hopeful, glorious future.

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