No one told me that I was wrong. Wait a second, that’s not true. Conceited. Arrogant. Self-centered, selfish. Cold. Uncaring. Controlling. Or, in the words of a girl in high school, when she didn’t know I was standing behind her, “A total bitch.” Now, my own mother might choose to contest those words, or she might choose to remember the Christmas that I unapologetically brought her to tears. (Sorry, Mom.)
The truth is that a lot of people told me I was wrong. The truth is that a lot of the time, I knew I was wrong. The truth is that a lot of the time, I even knew what was right.
So why didn’t I just… do the right thing?
It’s harder than that. Because no matter how good your reasons (or even my reasons) are for the right thing, there are always better reasons to do the wrong thing – otherwise, why would I have started doing the wrong thing in the first place? Why would the Jews have needed a Messiah, when they could’ve just followed the Commandments and been set?
It starts with hurt. It becomes fear and anger, jealousy and bigotry. But it starts with hurt.
And no rule, no logic, no sound argument or persuasion can stop a person who is hell bent on keeping hurt out in the only way they know: Be cold. Be controlling. Be self-centered and uncaring. Hurt others before they hurt us.
That’s why the Commandments weren’t enough. Why rules and logic and morality will never be enough for a hurting, broken world.
So if we can’t draw people away from a broken and sick existence, then we need to refocus our efforts: On drawing them toward love, toward community, toward acceptance.
You see, we think it begins with healing. That if we could just fix ourselves, we would be worthy of love, that people would accept us and want us. But the truth is, we weren’t created to live alone or hurt alone or be healed alone. We were drawn to love, and to be loved. And that’s the only way any of us will ever be healed.
Easier said than done.