People are often bigger on the inside.
One of the interesting things about people, however, is that the more inward-turned they are, the smaller they become. There are people who I meet who seem to have the whole universe inside them, and there are those who are simply devoid of anything at all. Some are so small that it is an unfortunate truth that they are bigger on the outside. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Many people I meet are bigger on the inside however, and the most complex and universe-sized people are those who give themselves away, who are outward-turned. These people are everywhere. Little treasures, big hearts, and warm, wonderful, people. They are beautiful, and amazing, and of the greatest worth. Many of those whom I meet are treasures, and I hope to treasure them, to commend goodness, truth, and beauty when I find it. These are people who are precious, like a poem, like a story, they are complex and wonderful. It might seem easy to love them, but as wonderful as they are, there are things to be considered. Things found in my own heart and mind that cloud my view of others. Self-centeredness and self-righteousness are found in me as well. Keep that in mind, I wish to explain now in greater detail what I mean by these things:
Self-centeredness is anti-human, it harms and never heals, it destroys, and never builds. It takes, but never gives. We are all infected to one degree with another with this disease.
When I encountered a person who was nearly consumed by themselves, I was astonished at how empty they were, I’ve never seen such an empty being, I honestly did not know what to make of them, there was no mystery, nothing. Just themselves.
I was troubled. Yet, I soon saw where these things go, from self-centeredness humanity can still fall further, to the abhorrence of that which is other. We call them killers, murderers, destroyers. Sometimes we call them dictators, tyrants, and so forth. We call them mad. But, in truth, most people are not so much mad as so inward turned as to cease to resemble humanity. We wonder how it is that a creature can have such a disregard for human life as to kill even the children? It is the product of the inward-turned self, the self-centered being, the one who fell further still.
This is but a picture of Hell. The human being so inward turned so far as to be something so anti-human that there can be no further falling. Sometimes we see glimpses of Heaven, sometimes Hell.
Is there hope? Or is the hardened heart of the human being the most formidable force in the universe?
Is this not the tragedy of humanity? We sometimes feel angry with those who would kill, who would destroy. Maybe we should, but sometimes I wonder if it is not wiser on the whole, to pity those who have fallen so far from what it was that they were meant to be. When has hate ever triumphed over hate? How has evil ever triumphed over evil? Where has vengeance ever triumphed over vengeance? Does this mean we should not pursue justice? By no means, but what is the attitude of our hearts? Is it one of pity, or of returning an eye for an eye, as it is said? Even when we encounter the worst of humanity, standing on the edge of a cliff, we have choices. To seek to pull them to safety, or to push them off. We also have a third choice, one which we sadly take, the very worst choice. Indifference. We walk on by, not seeking to help, nor do we push them off. Monsters are allowed to remain monsters, and our indifference creates the environment necessary for it to thrive in. We delude ourselves into believing that safety lies in our apathy, little seeing that it is our indifference and apathy that turns us into the one that has turned into a monster. Every person has the potential to be the worst of humanity. Apathy and indifference will help you on your road to that.
Yes, I hate what happens when the outworking of these things manifest themselves yet again in an act of violence, of hate, of perversion, and so forth. But I must also never forget that it is only choices that separates me from being that man myself, and if anything should be stirred in me, it should be pity. Pity that another little boy, or another little girl could have made choices, could have been so much more, they could have been something glorious, but instead fell so far, losing everything most precious about them, becoming monsters instead of men.
Should we not seek to help those who have fallen? Should not those who stand lend a hand to the brothers and sisters who have stumbled?
If these things are the product of self-centeredness that has fallen so far as to no longer resemble a human being as a human being is to be, is not self-righteousness a greater evil still? Not only does it seek not to help, but it seeks to set itself up, to be enthroned on its own standing, wishing evil upon the brothers and sister that have fallen. Seeking not to lend a hand to those who stumble but rather choosing to push them down even further. When the self-righteous person encounters a man standing on the edge, they will always push the person over, and never pull them back, never pity them, never seek to help them.
As abhorrent as apathy and indifference are, this is worse. Much worse. And this is the central thought of most religion. The self-righteous man.
In my mind, self-righteousness is a greater evil then self-centeredness. In the whole picture, the man who is self-righteous is a worse man then those who would kill, murder, destroy. He will not, and cannot be helped, unless he first forsakes his self-righteousness and of all the impossible things in the world, this is the most. No man can change another man, but a man who believes he does not need to be changed is the one most in need of it, yet the one most unable to be helped. Self-righteousness cannot be helped by any natural means.
It is a bleak picture, but the questions have to be asked, what is the root of these events that take place? For example, school shootings, and such. What does that say about us, as a whole, as human beings? Before we cast our stones, what is our heart?
That is where these things begin, and end. The heart.
What are our hearts? For my part, my desire is to love those around me. To remember that my fellow humans are my brothers and my sisters, and we are all the same thing, humanity. Love can cut through the darkness like nothing else can. In such a dark and bleak world, the solution is never to pour in more darkness and bleakness, but to turn on the light, and darkness always flees in the presence of light. Always.
Mercy triumphs over judgement, it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance, it is love that wins over hate. We are all one blood, one race, one family, we are humanity, and we are the same. For myself, I desire to lay aside the illusion of grandur, the arrogance, the self-righteousness, wherein I would believe myself to be better then others.
We’re all in the same boat after all. We’re human. Mercy doesn’t triumph for some and not others, goodness doesn’t lead to evil for one and repentance for another, love doesn’t lose to hate. Some people, no matter how different they might appear to the eye, are not less then another. We’re all equals here.
That is why it my hope to walk with a peace, with a heart given to my fellow men, my brothers and sisters of humanity, to love them, and seek their good. To help those who stumble, to offer encouragement to those who remain standing. I would be wrong to be so arrogant as to believe otherwise.
It is the heart of the matter that is important, and only the heart of a man can be the heart of a man. It is the center of the human being, only by the transformation of the heart is there hope for humanity. We can’t expect superficial changes of the outer man to transform the inner man. We can only be transformed from the inside. It’s how we are.
It is my desire to help and not hinder my fellow man. Do I? Sadly, no. I desire to, which is a start I suppose, but desire and the fulfillment of desire are not the same thing and must never be confused.
And while I speak all this to myself, I do hope it proves helpful to others as well.