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Culture

I Still Believe in Goodness

Violence and death. Looting. Murders. Angry hate speech. Name calling. Facebook unfriending. Hateful rhetoric. Pain and tears. Misunderstandings and false accusations. The list of big and small actions goes on and on and on.

The world is a rough place this week, and sometimes, it feels like America is falling apart. It’s easy to get depressed, to feel negative, and to just want to give up.

Yesterday, I was feeling quite down about everything. I watched friends argue on Facebook and politics run rampant in groups meant to unite. I watched false accusations and attacks hurt businesses and figures I admire. I’ve watched people murdered. I watched businesses destroyed. I watched people terrified to be silent but terrified to post the wrong thing, too. I’ve seen, in essence, people so willing to see the worst in each other that all reason, all compassion, all empathy, all understanding has gone out the window.

The line that we’re arguing is in the sand has been seemingly fortified. Instead of coming together, listening, understanding each other, we’re turning on each other. We’re so quick to judge, to spew hateful words, and to let anger overtake everything. We’ve picked our sides, or been told to pick a side, or been told what side people think we are on, and we’re told not to cross that line in any way.

I’m not saying America is perfect. We have major issues that I can’t even begin to understand. I know there are valid problems in this country. I know people are outraged. I know all of that. There is justified pain and hurt. There are people mourning and hurting for so many reasons. That isn’t what this post is about.

But this post is about the fact that yes, there are evil people in the world. Yes, there are people with ideologies that are fundamentally wrong and twisted. Still, I think so many of us have forgotten: There are good people, too.

Not perfect people. None of us are.

Not people who know how to perfectly handle this situation. None of us do.

But people who have goodness in their heart, who generally believe in doing the right thing. Who sometimes make mistakes in their speech or their postings, but who have good intentions.

Online especially, it feels like so many are searching for the bad, for misinformed posts, for people who are evil. We are looking for the news stories that show the anger and hatred. We seek out comments and posts that we can pinpoint as having ill-intentions. As humans, it is often our nature to look for the negatives. We take every post and twist it through our own lens, through our own viewpoint. We’re afraid to see the good sometimes. We’re afraid to understand someone’s point of view. We’re afraid to admit that sometimes, things are complicated. Sometimes, one post or comment doesn’t show the whole story.

In the past few days, I’ve seen people accused of hateful attitudes for being silent, for posting too much, for posting too little, for posting a happy picture, for posting a sad picture. I’ve seen the accusations fly because we are so quick to judge every word on social media. I know that something in this post will come off wrong to someone or will be viewed as misinformed. We no longer trust that anyone has good intentions, or that anyone is trying to make the world better and that can look a lot of different ways. We’ve decided that the world is bad, evil, and wrong. We don’t want to see anything else. We don’t want to offer any grace because we’ve come to believe no one deserves a second-chance, an opportunity to explain, or the benefit of the doubt.

There are posts that are misinformed and started with ill-intent. There are insensitive posts. I know that. Nonetheless, if you’re willing to look, there is still goodness. It’s there. It’s probably right around you. There are still good people who believe in helping others, spreading love, and doing the right thing as best as they can. There are all sorts of people doing amazing things for others, offering selfless kindness, and just making the world better.

I know we have a lot of work to do, and there are a lot of things that will change. But over the next few weeks, I challenge you that while you are battling evil, don’t forget to look for the good, too. It’s there. It might not be perfect and obvious. It might not be something the news is focusing on. But please, for the sake of our world, don’t forget that goodness DOES still exist.

And please, if you are struggling with what to do or say, if you’re terrified of saying the wrong thing, please remember this. I believe in the goodness in you, too. Find a way to be grounded in your goodness, apologize for your mistakes, and learn to grow as a person. If you dedicate your heart to that, no matter how much people may try to tell you otherwise, know that you are good.

We all have good in us. It’s just whether or not we choose to show it—and if hopefully others can see it.

See the goodness in the world while you’re battling the evil. I think this is essential to our survival as humans and as a society.

I, for one, still believe in the goodness, even if it seems like it’s harder to find.

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by Lindsay Detwiler

Lindsay Detwiler is a high school English teacher and a USA TODAY Bestselling author with HarperCollins/One More Chapter. Her debut thriller, The Widow Next Door, is an international bestseller. Her second novel, The One Who Got Away, released in February with One More Chapter/HarperCollins. Her latest novel, The Diary of a Serial Killer's Daughter, has been called "dark, unique, and a must-read in the thriller genre."

Lindsay is married to her junior high sweetheart. She prides herself on writing about genuine, raw emotions for the modern woman.


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