Where did all the good people go?

I'm a people watcher. When I observe the actions of others and hear their words, I try to discern their true intent, if that's possible. My wife has what is known as a "woman's intuition" but, as a man, I wasn't exactly blessed with that gift. So I observe and take mental notes.

Now before you accuse me of being some creepy guy that stalks people at the local mall, let me explain. When I say that I observe others, I do what most of you do as well. As I live my daily life I encounter people who do and say all sorts of things, sometimes to me but usually directed at others. And it is to these things that I pay attention.

As a father of four kids, I am around kids a lot. I go to the schools in an effort to stay engaged in their educational life and I am around their friends when they are at my home. As a pastor, each week I interact with hundreds of people who cover the spectrum of emotional and mental stability. When I grocery shop, there is a whole other level of consumer mindset that I encounter. Everywhere that I go I encounter people, many of whom I have at least a casual conversation with.

Do you know what I've discovered by just watching? Many people are downright awful to one another. I've had mental images pop up in my head about whipping out my belt and giving a butt-whooping to kids who I have observed being incredibly cruel to a class mate (and yes, I did restrain myself, instead letting the teacher know what I observed). If there is one thing that I hate, it's bullying, and that's probably because I tried to be one myself in middle school (FYI, my career at being cruel was short-lived because I was a lousy bully). When I see and hear students treating each other like discarded waste, I grieve for those affected.

When was the last time you were at a restaurant and saw another patron absolutely lambasting the server when a part of their meal was not right? The last time I checked, the server's job is to serve the food, not prepare it. Yet some of the most venomous language I have ever heard has been in restaurants and retail stores. "Isn't it a great idea to take out all of our anger and hostility on those who aren't even responsible for the product?" said no one ever in their right mind.

So what is my point in highlighting all of this negativity? Am I saying that people in general are awful? Yes, I am. Before you get offended and leave me a hateful comment that will further prove my point, allow me to share some truth with you. Jeremiah 17:9 in the Old Testament of the Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things. Matthew 12:34 goes on to say that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. What this says is that our mouths cannot help but express what is in our hearts. We can fake it and speak sugary words when we need to, but the true self will eventually come out for others to see.

Not trying to be too much of a downer here, but we also have to consider what Romans 3:10 says about us: There is no one righteous, no not even one. Ouch! "But wait!" you say. "What about all the really kind and generous people in this world? Are you saying that they are awful, too?" No, I'm not saying it. God is.

Our culture celebrates human depravity. Don't believe me? Then turn on the TV at night or go to a movie. From the heart flows our true intent. Good deeds might get a quick blurb at the end of a newscast, but the majority of media and entertainment is obsessed with covering the bad.

Here's the deal. We weren't created to be good. We were created to know God. And until your life has been made right with God through Jesus, then you are incomplete. Sure, people who do not know God can do many great and beautiful things - they do and I am glad for it! - but the root issue is not how good we are but rather how great God is.

In writing all of this let me make this clear: I do not hate people. In fact, I really love people. Some of my best friends are those who believe the opposite of what I have typed here. Yet I cannot and do not hide from them the truth found in Jesus Christ. Only Jesus is good enough. Because of the sacrifice on the cross that Jesus made, all of our sinfulness and filth can be covered when we place our faith and trust and hope in Him. When our hearts are transformed and renewed by the gospel of Jesus then our lives will truly realize what they were created for.

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