Is that really how we look at people, all good, or all bad? It seems that a lot of times we do. I think we can look into our own lives, and know that’s not that way it really is. Am I good, Am I bad, or maybe a bit of both?
This really came up as I was talking to a friend about some things she is dealing with now. She was telling me about a situation with a person, who she felt, had basically spoken out of turn. And that is putting it mildly! I really hoped she was wrong, because some people are in positions that have repercussions that go far beyond interpersonal relationships. I encouraged her to ask them (note I did not say confront) so that at least she would know the truth. I was glad she wasn’t holding it against them, but I told her that if she didn’t know the truth, she may eventually do just that. The conversation reminded me that we are all, a little of both. It showed up again as I was starting the book of Esther. I didn’t get very far, because I was struck by another character in her story. That of Queen Vashti.
How was this woman viewed? Surprisingly in so many ways! Depending on who you read, Vashti was either wicked, vain, a disobedient wife, independent minded woman trying to humiliate her husband. Or she was wise, with dignity and self-respect. Refusing her husband’s drunken request out of her own sense of modesty and good sense. It was funny, because just like Vashti, Esther and her actions had the same kind of varied opinions. Are you kidding me? I couldn’t believe how the opinions that were all over the map. The one thing that really struck me was that if someone had a negative view of either one, all of the actions they assigned to them were bad. If it was positive, then all of their actions were seen in that light.
The problem is that there is no one like that. (Except for Jesus…and good doesn’t truly cover Him) History is filled with people who have done great things, and have also said or done things of great hurt. Even those biblical, larger than life figures were not immune to this. Why does it matter? Well I feel like when we think this way, it is easy to put someone into a box. In that box we attribute a whole litany of characteristics, even if they are not true. How do we cure this? I am not exactly sure?
Maybe it comes down to being willing to do life together. Be with people who are the same as you, and even one’s that are different. Not to change who you are, but to change how you react to the differences between each of us. When we are in relationships with people, we then get to use that grace, love and mercy in a real sense. Not just talking about it. Maybe then we will see that the differences are much less different and the common ground is much more common than we thought. Maybe then we will see that we all are just a little bit of both.
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