One of the most important factors of our justice system is that people accused of a crime must be viewed as innocent. Your mindset as a jury is that indeed this person IS innocent and you must prove to me otherwise, beyond reasonable doubt. This is a MUCH different stance than beginning with a mindset that this person us guilty until proven otherwise. Yet, without missing a beat, there are still jurors who come in with attitudes like, “I’ve seen his type before” or “She just looks guilty” or “I am sure he did something wrong to land him here.” Instead of assuming the best about a person, they assume the worst, even when required BY LAW to assume the best.
And for most of my life I have been taught to have the same attitude towards people: assuming they are wicked and evil and damned first. In fact, this attitude was taught as being God-ordained. And so everywhere I went, every person I met, my starting assumption was that they were bad and guilty. And it effected how I viewed and treated them, and yes, prevented me from truly loving them. (I see this effect still at play with my kids and how I view them…a work in progress).
But now, my starting assumption is beginning to change. I now see people as good, and loved, and forgiven first. This is now my beginning point. And let me tell you, it has given me much peace, joy and hope. It allows me to not fear them and empowers me to better love and embrace them. That instead of seeing them as evil and cursed, I see them as loved and embraced.
Now I know what some are thinking, well what about those people who really mean you harm? You can’t just go through life trusting people and assuming they are good. You have to exercise caution and watch your back. And I would reply that I get that, but I will trust my papa and the spirit within me to guide me and raise the caution flag when needed, but my starting place will not be fear, but of love and trust. I am learning to let go of fear incrementally and embrace trust. Might I get burned? Possibly, but either way, with fear or trust, I might get burned. So I choose to assume the best about a person, rather than the worst. I choose to believe that when God created us He viewed us as good and looked upon us with favor, and that he still does so today. I am beginning with that.
But don’t we all sin and make bad choices and hurt people? Yep. But we are also all hurting, scared, scarred, wounded, frightened little beings too. But those things do not dismiss the goodness dwelling in each of us. So if we all have goodness and badness dwelling in us, then I chose to first focus on the goodness.
I have spent way too much of my life seeing people as glass-half-wicked and am choosing to see them as glass-half-good.
Care to join me?