In our lives, we make choices that damage other people. No matter whether these choices are intentionally harmful, the damage comes as an unintended side-effect, or the choice damages one person less than another, the damage done has damaged someone else. At this point, I believe everyone who draws breath agrees with me. The next step is to decide how to approach the damage done.
This is where I become quite religious. I believe that, if we are merely “it” (as it were), then damage on another is quite frivolous; another effect of a rise to greatness – one must step on the shoulders (and sometimes forcefully) of others to achieve greatness in this world. Your insults, threats, and inconsideration of another has very little impact on the world; you could be a genuinely awful person, and the world would reward you if you were financially successful. On the flip-side, you could be the kindest person in the world, and statistically make no mark on it. One could be kind “for the sake of it”, simply because it is right.
As my post “In Defense of Significance” showed, I feel pulled to a higher calling. The most difficult thing for me in Christianity is that I cannot look at the world as being inhabited by people. Flesh and blood automatons are too simplistic. As a Christian, I see every person as their soul. As a man after God's own heart, I try to see people as God would – the immortal soul who passes on after the vessel of flesh cannot support it.
Our bodies' mortality is caused by the oppressive nature of a soul on its container. After many, many years, it finally succumbs to the pull of gravity, and can no longer bear the burden inside. That's when we pass on from half-nature, half-spirit, and become a full spirit, with all the memories that it shared with its vessel. These blessed vessels then return to nature.
Thus, if one deals with immortal souls, one must also deal with the damaging of said beings. I will bring forth examples, then answer them all in kind:
Recently, a friend of mine was separated from the one she loved (no, this isn't you). Even a week after the occurrence, she is still not in a mental state fit enough to attend classes.
Equally recently, I was left alone when a friend of mine (who has done this before(no, this isn't you)) left early and had an incredible, memorable time with other friends of mine.
Much longer ago, I went to an event with friends, and I spent much, much more time with one friend that another. It turns out she was somewhat put off by my somewhat desertion of her.
Even longer ago, I had to choose between two people who were equally unloved by the group I was with.
In all these cases, souls were damaged. I cannot begin to demand that humanity as a whole becomes better, not because it is futile, but because we are such young souls. Individually, we have a miniscule amount of experience – less than a paltry hundred years for most – and history has shown that, although humanity is several millenia old, it is still continuing the same mistakes of the past. Our souls – even the wisest, strongest, and most respected amongst us – are still quite young. Our bleeding edge of discovery is Heaven's Stone Age. We are such young souls, we have still not grasped what we should and should not do.
From my limited experience, I have come to agree with a verse from the Bible, long before I heard of it.
“...do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8b)
Mercy is written all over the Bible, and I find myself most pleased when I exercise it. Even when someone else offends you, be complacent and approach them with kindness and mercy.
Justice is a thing reserved for people with more figures in their paychecks, generally. But, as with mercy, it is written all over the Bible, and painted on this Earth. When a misdeed is being carried out (modern slavery, for example), people who see it take steps to end it. Justice is not a thing to be reserved for people with more responsibility; God himself put a soul into your mother's womb, and had that soul be reared from birth to where you are, reading this post. He gives you and I the responsibility of a soul, which is much more than I would expect of him. Seeing as you are simply one soul, ask others for input; this is misdeed as terrible as I see it as? Will you help me end it? Then, multiple souls tied together for a common cause, you can take authority.
What is to keep you from abusing this authority? Look above to when I touched on God's rearing up of our souls. God makes several souls a second, cares for seven million constantly, and still has enough time left to have made you, shaping you, forming you. He is much above anything else in the world. For me, it is a thin line between taking a stand against perceived injustices and arrogating the throne of judgment and wielding the sword of God without His approval. Walking humbly through life is also written all through the Bible, and in this world. In all this, remember you are still one person.
So, in conclusion, I would ask that, if you are reading this, remember that with the mantle of Christianity comes the responsibility to treat everyone, not as people, but as immortal souls. Every scar you make doesn't go away, it is simply covered, plastered over by other events in the souls' existence. Upon mortal death, the past experiences of the soul burst away from its shell; it remembers its first thoughts, what it ate for dinner on the last day of middle school, when Jimmy broke its pencil in high school, when the calculator failed during that exam.
This may sound morbid, especially for those who have lost loved ones. Here's where it gets amazing. (If you are a Secular Humanist, I am no longer speaking to you). Since Jesus died for our sins, those damages can be forgiven, in this world or the next. Much moreso, souls are much tougher than anything in this world; the slings and arrows of a sharp tongue merely scrape. People under this assault can be rescued. A small scrape can be covered. Sometimes, one must peel away layers to get at a thorn in the shell, and in this case, the soul assisting the one in distress learns much more than it bargained for about the damaged soul. This dynamic makes life a miracle.
We are all damaged souls; I’ll be the first to say that my cracks are deep and rip open from time to time. Caverns of memories years deep spew horrid memories from darker times in my life, and it takes time for these to die down again. After my grandparents on my mother's side passed away, I began having spells of speculation on my mental state once my father passed away. I would get caught on the memory, and I would come to on the floor, racking with anguish. Not because I would lose him, but because I would miss him while I wait to join him.
I feel that I have touched on enough of this subject for this post, though there is most certainly more to touch on later.
More to come.