Dear Conservatives: Empathy Applies to Bad People, Too. (Part 1)

“You can’t just act, you have to think, you have to…listen! There are always wolves…” – Into The Woods



“You can’t just act, you have to think, you have to…listen! There are always wolves…” – Into The Woods

Since the beginning of time, there have been bad and good people. The bad people, unlike Hester Prynne, have rarely walked around with an emblem on their clothing to tell us who they are. They come in the form of teachers, politicians, cripples, priests, students, and little old women who pretend not to shoplift. And since the beginning of time, good people have had to decide what to do with bad people.

The Bible is full of this kind of language and these kinds of ideas, to say that it’s not always easy to tell who’s on what side.

Jesus (AKA that dude nobody listens to), in one of his most famous sermons, said stuff like this in Matthew 5:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

It is abundantly clear that this is not what many Christians actually believe (which makes me wonder why we call them Christians, but I digress.) The points that the philosopher is making here are twofold:

  1. In life, you don’t always know who’s who. You can’t even always be sure you’re on the “right side”.
  2. Even if you can figure that out, you are supposed to be kind and loving towards the people that are not on the right side.

Now, personally, I don’t think that I’ll ever like some people. I’m never gonna want to sit down and have a beer with Donald Trump, and if you try to make me, I will probably physically fight you. But…if he came to my house for safety, if he was bleeding, if he was in a car accident, if a loved one of his died…I’d do the right thing. Because he’s a part of my family, and we’re the only ones here.

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