Sunday, December 17, 2006

People are a mixture of good and bad

A quick thought... Christians often take a very black and white view of people - completely perfect OR "sinner". I think this often leads to people not noticing all the good in people, even those who don't call themselves "Christians". I see people as not all bad, but a mixture of good and bad.

It's tempting for Christians to think that the good in people is "tainted" by their bad. And this is true in one sense, but adding mud to pure water. But also think we can see true goodness in people despite their other bad character traits. I like to think of the good parts of people's characters as being like nuggets of gold, treasure in the midst of more mundane clay and hard stone. Stones represent bad aspects of character. Clay, though, has potential to be shaped, and I think it can eventually turn into either stone or gold (just go with the analogy here, don't think too hard about the chemistry of that). In other words, as people grow older they create more stone or gold in their hearts - more self-centredness or kindness, more bitterness or joyfulness, more short-temperedness or graciousness...

And the scary and beautiful thing is that I think other people can have a huge affect on what sort of character traits develop in people. Scary because people often promote bad character traits in people, but beautiful when we encourage each other on toward goodness.

So, my thought was simple - see the good in other people and encourage that good in them. Praise them for it, rather than picking on their flaws. Because I think that's a great way to actually help the good in other people grow and at the same time make them feel less gloomy.

PS: If you read this, how about leaving a comment? I like comments =)


Anonymous said...

Yes! I think in the church we often remember a lot of the admonish and teach each other instruction (well, we admonish and bitch, anyway :P), but not so much of the encourage and walk-the-path-with-each other instruction.

I've just been reading dad's Xmas present, a book called "101 Ingenious Kiwis", which featured (among others) a unique woman who worked on the theory you've outlined (focussing on the positive). She was a very creative educationalist and taught in the North Island, working mainly among poor Maori areas. She found that while the kids had enormous energy, they tended to have two vents (as they came from violent backgrounds): one very positive and creative, and the other very destructive. She focussed on bringing out the more creative vent and discovered by doing so, those kids spent more energy developing that and eventually the more negative and destructive vent became less and less used. So, it seems your theory has precedent and works well (at least with kids, so I'm sure it can be extended to others :P)

Nato said...

Here's a comment:

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Anonymous said...

I read. I like :)

Anonymous said...

I like 2. Refreshing honesty, baring your soul, something I'm sure many will relate to.:-)