As cancel culture arouses increasing conflict and vicious bullying and nasty diatribes pervade social media, it could be tempting, if not easy, to bemoan the destiny of the human race. The perception of apparently ugly personalities expressing unpleasant opinions that shock peaceful values and cherished traditions, makes appreciating an innate goodness in human beings seem difficult, even impossible.
Whether the focus is religion, race, nationality, sexual diversity, nationality or disability, taking umbrage and vociferously denouncing others with a contrary perspective sadly only seems to engender more of the same. Victimhood is the new vocabulary of understanding, across so many walks of life and the socio-political spectrum.
Ironically, it is a great misunderstanding that has undermined the genuine good nature of most human beings.
In my youth I was a pacifist, vehemently contemptuous of world leaders engaged in arms’ sales, wars and bellicose behaviours, believing faith in people’s ability to talk together reasonably and sensibly was what was needed to resist the perils of war and foster wellbeing.
Arguing passionately that the latter would inevitably prevail in the battle for the hearts and minds of decent people, I concluded that the human race had survived for two millennia because far more good than evil exists.
Realising the wonderful and tireless work of scientists who’ve developed life-saving vaccines and cures for diseases and the creative endeavours of artists, writers and musicians, among others, who have laboured for people’s enjoyment, is testimony to that goodness.
In these tumultuous times, it seems significant to reflect on human history and the teachings of Jesus to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
However, as human beings we all have our foibles, frailties and faults, making mistakes and telling lies that inadvertently hurt others without thought or insight. Empathy can seem wanting, but acknowledging our imperfections on occasion is integral to staying human.
That reality assumes a sense of apology; a humility and moral integrity to confront our failures and allow goodness to triumph. As Timothy 1:7 states “…God gave us a spirit…of power and love and self-control”.
Philippians 2:1-3:21 suggests further: “…Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”.
With hundreds of scientists now striving for a COVID-19 vaccine for others around the world, and singers live streaming for people’s pleasure, their efforts inspire faith in the good nature of people for the survival of humanity in health and prosperity.