Sunday, July 17, 2016

What is the most destructive force on the human mind?

I have been watching some people near-and-dear to me self-destruct lately. It is a terrible thing to see loved ones self-destructing, or trying to destroy each other. And it is hard to get untangled from a group that has turned on itself. I'm trying to get my head wrapped around all the drama here. In the mind of each of the people self-destructing or trying to destroy someone else, one of the others in that group is the villain. There is no doubt that each of them has played the villain in the others' lives -- sometimes really savoring the role, too.

But -- including all of humanity here -- what turns us into villains? The current contenders in the local drama are: 
  • Addiction
  • Hatred
  • Vengefulness
  • Self-righteousness
  • Pride
  • Greed
It's hard to pick the single most destructive thing. Is self-righteousness the enabler for vengefulness and hatred? And one thing that troubles me: the people who are acting in spite are completely sure that they are in the right. And then there is hatred, the foundation for so many evil acts. Is "vengefulness" -- the desire to hurt someone else -- really anything but another name for hatred? But "vengefulness" makes a claim to being right. It uses the victim card to claim unlimited reparations or retaliation. Does it take self-righteousness to give moral top-cover to cruelty?

We're all of us prone to justify our own mistakes. We want to be good and right, and that tendency can be corrupted. We've all known that temptation to justify a mistake rather than admit it. And if we have someone waiting to pounce on a mistake, we are less likely we are to admit it because the price tag is so high.

It's so easy for someone to appoint themselves the Accuser for someone else who has wronged them. In the Bible, the Accuser is a title for Satan. Do we willingly take up that role?

I see so many things that I consider to be poisons. The antidotes are love, humility, and forgiveness. But is it possible to reach someone who is caught up in a spiral of escalating vindictiveness? Can they even see that, in their determination to top the other person, they are poisoning themselves? I've said it before and will likely say it again: We cannot dehumanize other people without dehumanizing ourselves.


Martin LaBar said...


Weekend Fisher said...

So ... pride is definitely a contender. Why does it have your vote for the front runner, if you don't mind sharing?

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF