I know this is weird.
A lot of people don’t believe in God. Sensible people don’t believe in the tooth fairy. Some dictators don’t believe in the holocaust. Me? I don’t believe in good people.
It’s a bit of a cultural anomaly I realize. I mean we divide the world in our conversations and judgements into good people and bad people all the time don’t we?
But yeah. I don’t believe in good people. Very firmly don’t believe in good people. In fact, I go as far as to think we are all really bad people. Me included. I don’t think all of us are as bad as we could be. But I think we are terribly bad. And to use a Christian word.. terribly sinful. There’s a phrase for this thought I have about not believing in good people.
We are not all as evil as we have the potential to be at every moment. But at our core, we are affected by a badness that is deep. It affects our thoughts and actions and desires and if we aren’t changed from the inside out.. we are stuck.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
(Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)
When I see the world and it’s atrocities, I am not shocked when “good” people do terrible things. Because I know my own heart. We are all really bad. We all are fallen. We are all sinful. We all are broken. And we all don’t just do things that are bad accidentally but we’ve all done awful things on purpose and know there are things that hold our greatest shame. Things we hope no one finds out about.
No, when I see humanity, I see humanity as spared from being as evil as we could be at times, but capable and often in our rebellion doing much worse things than we thought capable. It leaves us hungering for escape, for change, for grace, for forgiveness.
Bad people don’t shock me. Only when bad people do good things occasionally I am surprised. Deep down, we do good things but those get thwarted by being stuck and doing a lot of bad things and even the good things don’t amount to a lot in the end.
They can’t buy back all of the bad we have done.
They can’t fix the people we have injured, betrayed, lied to, abused, broken.
They can’t change our habits and addictions and love of self that we want to change but we are just stuck in. When we want to do good but we do the things we hate.
They can’t take away the shame we have when it is all said and done.
And they can’t buy us any favour before a holy and perfect God. (I know many of you don’t believe in God. But just saying. It’s true. Humour me and consider it for a second.)
There is a man named G.K Chesterton and on a newspaper’s writing the question:
“What is wrong with the world today?”
He wrote in: