I’ve been thinking lately about people and what we think of them. Specifically, the value judgements we place on human beings.
She’s a good person.
He’s a bad person.
We don’t limit the value judgement to their actions–we place it on their personhood, on their identity, their very being.
And when we judge their personhood as good or bad, do we allow them to change and become something else?
If we determine they are a ‘bad person’ have we left any room for God’s redemption?
Here’s the thing, I don’t think you can put a value judgement on a person. I think choices can have value placed on them. And actions can be good or bad. But human beings cannot be reduced to a value judgement.
Because we are all an amalgam of good choices and bad choices every single day. And we do change.
C.S. Lewis said that with every choice we become more a heavenly creater or a hellish creature.
Every time you make a choice you are turning into the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.C.S. Lewis | Mere Christianity
But I don’t know that I entirely agree. I do think our choices create patterns of our life. I think consistently making positive, healthy choices makes it easier to make good choices. And conversely, consistently making destructive, selfish or cruel choices makes it easier to make bad choices.
As a result, I think the choices we consistently make create our future. If you want a healthy future with positive, loving relationships then it will be a result of the choices you make today. And tomorrow. And every day between here and the future you imagine.
But if you consistently choose anger, choose violence, choose bitterness or your own gratification at the expense of others you are creating a future of anger, resentment and isolation.
The important thing is, it is a choice. Every time. And at any moment, in any given situation you can choose differently. You can create a new pattern and a new life as a result of new choices.
Sometimes we think we can do it ourselves given enough will power. Most often, we need divine intervention. We need our Savior to redeem something in our lives. The pain, the shame, the anger that drives those bad choices. We need wisdom to see situations and people from a new perspective of grace and love.
And perhaps we need the grace to be more specific with our words–to acknowledge when someone does or says something bad without condemning them as a bad person. Which allows room for God to redeem them just as He’s redeemed us.