Bad people

It’s so easy to dislike bad people – you know, people that are mean and hateful and disrespectful, people not willing to be nice to strangers and kids and dogs. There’s plenty of them out there, but I learned from one of the bad people in my neighborhood the other day that these bad people may need and even deserve as much extra love and support and encouragement and help as we can muster.

The bad person I’m thinking of is a middle-schooler. He litters and is disrespectul. He shoots his BB gun at dogs and lights. He’s out till all hours of the night. It’s pretty clear he’s training to be an out and out criminal one day. I knew he didn’t have the best family situation, but recently I learned just how bad it was. An old friend of mine, ironically, is his family’s landlord, and she had had enough and evicted them. I asked if I could earn a little extra money by helping her fix up the house, and she said “YES!” When I got to the house I realized why she was so excited to have help.

Let me start my description by saying that I don’t know how human beings could live in this house for an extended period of time… here goes. There were multiple windows broken out, multiple holes punched in multiple walls, grime and filth in layers on all the carpets, multiple dead and living mice and rats, and then there was rodent feces everywhere. There were also no lights in 2 rooms and garbage and clutter was everywhere.

And I wondered why this kid was so bad? I’d be mad at the world too if I had to live in that kind of squalor and neglect! The mother was a junkie and I don’t think there was a father in the picture, so this poor kid was doing the best he could taking on the world in his own way and on his own. I feel like I should hug this kid the next time I see him, and I would if I didn’t think he would punch me for it. I guess my broader point on this is that we don’t know the backstory of why bad people are bad. Some are just rotten, but some are made rotten by bad or no parenting, so whenever possible, I think we Christians should turn the other cheek as often as possible(within reason). I don’t think we should allow real harm to come to us or ours, but if we can show any kind of compassion and patience to someone that is disrespecting us for no reason, it might go a long way towards making the “bad” person’s next interaction less confrontational. Those of us who have it “good” have the power to make a “bad” person’s day less bad. Thank you for reading my 120th blog.

Mark Inglis

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