It’s not if, it’s when.
Watching a documentary on Auschwitz doesn’t boost one’s morale or faith in humanity. It certainly does the opposite. You are left pondering things like, “how could that happen???” We wonder how society and culture could have been so broken that over 6 million people were slaughtered…by people.
And then my faith in humanity takes another hit when I read the headline a few days ago. Yet another school shooting. More victims and more unspeakable pain.
It’s pretty clear that humanity hasn’t figured out how to stop itself from failing. It’s an endless cycle of brokenness.
And it’s everywhere.
We fail when spouses cheat on each other.
We fail when parents abandon their children.
We fail when addiction goes undetected.
We fail when people commit suicide.
We fail when we don’t report abuse.
We fail when people are trafficked.
We fail when mental illness is ignored and goes untreated.
What makes the Holocaust so tragic is in addition to the heartless slaughter of millions, there existed a systematic apathy among most (a few exceptions) people at the time. For example the French government turned over thousands of Jews to the Nazis without so much of a second thought. So many just turned a blind eye and figured it wasn’t their problem. And that’s the real problem with humanity. My view is we don’t empathize with others because we are inherently selfish and don’t want to make other people’s problems our own for a multitude of reasons. It is also my view that the only time humans can show empathy and kindness is when God gives them strength to do this. We simply just don’t have it in us on our own.
The gunman in the most recent school shooting was 19 and unsurprisingly was mentally ill. He suffered from a ruthless disease known as depression. It’s deadly, addictive, and it claims more lives than we are comfortable talking about. To compound the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, the sheriff’s office was called to this young man’s house 39 times since 2010.
Humanity is failing when a young man can’t get the help he needs even after the sheriff office visits his house 39 times. Heaven help us.
The American president addressed the nation and urged any and all young people to seek help if they are lonely, confused, hurt or afraid. Although I agree in principle, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon for most.
It won’t happen until the stigma of depression is broken. It won’t happen until addicts are lovingly embraced by their community and not ignored or ostracized. The truth is when a 19 year old who was ignored for years walks into a school and takes innocent lives, we all have failed. Humanity failed him and the consequence was much more than his life being thrown away.
So how does humanity win?
I think it comes down to doing the “little things.” In reality they are not little at all because they can change someone’s world and maybe even save lives!
We win when we take a stand against injustice.
We win when we help someone in need.
We win when we tell someone that they matter.
We win when we listen.
We win with a far more powerful weapon than a gun or hate or apathy.
We win with love.