We all know the importance of seeing the goodness in others. We also know there is wisdom in being realistic but not judgmental. The line between realistic and judgmental can be very fine. I’ve made appreciation of others and their efforts part of the way I greet the world. Still I hope that I live that appreciation with wisdom. It is essential and valuable to expect goodness in others and ourselves. It is also essential and valuable to remember that none of us are perfect.
We lock our cars and cover our packages and valuables that are inside. We do that, not because we think everyone is a thief, but because we don’t want to tempt anyone to steal our stuff. Even the most honest person has to struggle with temptation when you leave your packages in plain view in your unlocked car.
We don’t buy sweets or chips or whatever food entices us to overeat, when our weight is out of control. If it’s in the fridge or cupboard the temptation can overwhelm us.
We make the decision to live, to party without alcohol. We don’t have one glass of wine or beer when we accept the fact that we cannot say “no” to two or three more. Alcoholics and drug addicts know the overwhelming struggle that comes when they face temptation.
The abused person does not have to give up their love for the abuser, but they do need to use wisdom to distance themselves, to walk or run away to a safe place, to report the abuse to the authorities. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to seek help in stepping out of the abusive situation, loving not just for self, but for the abuser too.
It’s valuable to teach our children that human beings are basically good. It’s also valuable to teach them loving wisdom.
“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.” (Proverbs 4:6)