The Trap of Assuming Everyone is “Good”

I have had the opportunity recently to watch an ongoing debate (to put it lightly – “war” is probably a better word for it) between professing Christians. I read what they write and listen to them speaking, and I have observed something that just makes me shake my head in amazement. There is an unwritten tradition, a rule if you will, that says that in the church we all must speak “nice” to one another. After all, so goes the assumption, we are all Christians and therefore we are all “good.” Oh, someone here and there might get off track and be mistaken, but we must never stop believing that their motives are good. That’s the thinking, you see. And so in these battles you see the participants calling one another “brother” or going on at lengths to be sure everyone knows that no matter what they say, they don’t doubt the heart of their opponents and everyone just loves one another.  In such settings, it is an absolute no-no to speak of an action or a motive or a person as being evil.

And that, I am proposing, lays fertile soil for the wicked to practice their wickedness unmolested.

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What did Jack the Ripper look like?

I recently read a short story by Shirley Jackson from collection of her short stories entitled Dark Tales.  There is a movie out now, recently released, on Jackson’s life – but I don’t recommend it. It may not be that factual anyway.  On the other hand, a movie version of her novel “We Have Always Lived in this Castle” is definitely worth watching – but not for kids.

Anyway, one very short story she wrote is called Jack the Ripper. It describes a man who appears to be a champion of mercy and empathy. He comes upon a young woman lying on the sidewalk in the rain and dark, drunk and passed out. He goes into the pub nearby and attempts to garner some support to help her but ends up only being mocked. Eventually he carries her home (finding her address in her purse) and goes to great lengths to carry her up 6 flights of stairs to her appartment. He settles her in, puts her to bed, and then you expect him to leave.

He doesn’t.  This in fact is how the story ends:

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Sorry, not Sorry – Thoughts on False Repentance

The wicked we deal with – those abusers who crave power and control and use all kinds of self-justifying tactics to get it – never say they are sorry. Never. Oh, they might mouth the words sometimes, cry some crocodile tears, “confess” to some wrongdoing, but the whole thing is a sham still designed to deflect guilt and blame from them to….you.

Know what one of the abuser’s favorite movies is? Love Story. You know that mushed up sentimental line – “Love means never having to say you are sorry.” I mean, what better enablement could be found than in that kind of warped thinking? The truth is that genuine love means wanting to say you are sorry when you sin against someone.

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