I remember being in 8th grade and reading these words by Anne Frank: “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” This reached me just as I started to grow out of my naive view of the world. Just as I learned about some of the most heinous and evil sins of the world. I think this is part of why I have made it to be 18 without losing that feeling that there is some good everywhere. You can tell me I am just a kid and I haven’t seen the world like you have. You can tell me that I can’t comprehend the loss and hurt and destruction that the world and the people of it are willing to dish out. And in a way, you’re right. I’m blessed with such a lacking in my experience.
But I think that no matter what happens to me, what kind of hurt I see, despite everything…I will still believe that people are generally good and beautiful and wonderful and lovable. And people do things that are destructive and horrific and cruel and monstrous, but I still can’t do it. I still can’t condemn someone when I know myself what I’ve done.
At youth tonight, we were going over Social Principles, and I was the only one in the whole group who was against a death penalty. I can’t really understand killing people because we think it’s wrong to kill people. So, all night, I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to be that daughter or sister or mother of someone killed in cold blood. And I still can’t say another dead body would soothe my pain.
This is how I feel still tonight. A dead body can’t heal the wounds our country has had for the past ten years. A dead body doesn’t give us back all the fear as the airplane wheels left the ground. It doesn’t give us back lost men and women of the military. It doesn’t give me back my hours debating our presence in Afghanistan even. As I see my Facebook feed fill with chanting cries of victory and God Bless Americas, I fell it’s all in vain. We didn’t win at laser tag, so don’t treat it as such.
Matthew 5:44 says: ”But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” If we want to grow as individuals and as a country, we have to realize how precious forgiveness is. We are not only blessed to receive forgiveness, but we are also blessed with the capability to forgive. Our hearts are bigger than we will ever let them be, because we are too red-blooded and proud to let us love someone who was hurt us. Despite everything, I still believe that loving a person, forgiving a person, praying for a person, is stronger than anything else we could do.
The surest sign of our faith is our ability to love those who have trespassed against us; if we are incapable of this, we may need to look at ourselves a little closer. I just hope that those I have wronged will not celebrate at my death, but rather release the pain I have caused them along with me, and go forward in love.