When we focus on good vs. bad, we may be doing ourselves a lot of damage.
When we look at the world like this, we can create two problems. The first is the most glaring. When we focus on the bad, we judge. We see people as good or bad. They are not. They are people. Actions are good or bad.
And in order for us to see good or bad, we have to judge. We have to determine way more than we can. There is a reason Jesus said “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” That’s because we have finite insight.
Sure that guy might be yelling at the person in the line at Target behind the counter. But maybe he just was fired today. Maybe he just lost a loved one today. Maybe he’s hurting more than we can tell. When we judge, we miss the opportunity to heal or help. If we avoid looking at the right and wrong of the situation and instead look at a man that is not only hurting others, but also doing damage to himself, we can find better ways to step in and help both people, and not just the most obvious victim.
But the less glaring problem about focusing on good vs. bad is the worst problem. When we see things as good or bad, we tend to miss the things we are doing that are causing us damage. We want to see ourselves as good, so we can’t be doing bad, right?
When was the last time you did something to someone and thought “well they deserved it!” Did they? Or aren’t we all the same lost souls in need of a savior. Don’t we all have areas in our lives were we all “deserve it”? And if all sin is the same in God’s sight, then aren’t we all equally guilty and deserving of punishment? It may feel good to think of one group as bad which lets us see ourselves as good, but is that the best way?
So what should we do? We should just help people. We shouldn’t spend our time focusing on good or bad. We should focus our time on helping people. People have habits that either help them or hurt them. We need to help people create habits that help them. We need to focus on what will be beneficial. We need to focus on positivity and kindness.
When we are focusing on good vs bad, we are focusing on the law. Mark said “Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for man” In other words, the whole point of the rule is to benefit people. If the law becomes more important than people, we have made a mistake.
Maybe this is why Jesus said to do good to those who hurt you. Because we’ve hurt people and it might have been when we really needed help. Maybe it’s time to help someone instead of judging them. Maybe it’s time to look at people’s faults not as bad that needs to be punished, but as stumbling blocks that keep them from seeing their full potential. Maybe we need to spend more time believing in people than believing in their sin.
Maybe we need to be a little more like Jesus who made “sinners” fall at his feet or call throngs of people to him or simply stand in awe of him. Maybe we need to say what he was oft found saying “neither do I condemn you”.