What’s wrong with people?—What’s right with people?

By Melissa Martin

People are messy creatures. People come with flaws, faults, and problems. People make blunders, mistakes, and errors.

We are complicated and complex. We are full of foibles. We have character defects and deficits.

We experience muddled motives, devious desires, and self-absorbed ambitions. We lie, cheat, and steal. We deceive others and ourselves. The blame-shame game is played out in our homes, churches, workplaces, and communities.

Our emotions go up and down like an elevator. Our feelings are fickle. Our relationships ride the roller-coaster of love and loneliness—exhilarating and excruciating. Why are people so grumpy, grouchy, and greedy? Petty, pompous, and patronizing? Moody, mean, and malicious?

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco asks “What’s wrong with people? Why would you do that? Aren’t You Embarrassed?”

We are heroes and villains on a continuum scale. Pastors, police, and politicians fall out of favor. Once a heroic Jedi Knight, DarthVader turned to the dark side. Housewives, helpers, and healers fall out of favor.

What’s up with Superman turning into a bad guy in Justice League? I guess superheroes live on a two-sided coin as well.

Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them (2013) is a book by Liz Curtis Higgs. Imperfect females living in an imperfect world.

Price gouging during natural disasters? Businesses that jack up generators during power outages? Or shovels during a blizzard? And even emergency supplies—now that’s really low.

Looters during hurricanes? They are worse than pick-pockets.

Cringe-worthy stories increase heart rates and blood pressure. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Scammers, scoundrels, and swindlers. Users, abusers, and losers.

Thank Goodness for Grace

The Case for Grace by Lee Strobel tells true stories of transformed lives. Strobel offers the experiences of orphans, addicts, wayward children, prisoners, and murderers as examples of God’s amazing grace.

Humans are a glorious mess to God. Amy Grant sings, “We pour out our miseries. God just hears a melody. Beautiful the mess we are. The honest cries of breaking hearts. Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.”

Give me grace. Amazing grace. God’s grace. I’m so glad God sees me through the eyes of Jesus—grace eyes. No blame. No shame. No condemnation. No criticism. No disappointment. No resentment. No keeping score of mistakes. No keeping score of intentional misbehavior. I’m relieved that God doesn’t ask, “Melissa, what’s wrong with you?”

What’s Right with People?

Ask Don Clifton, coauthor of How Full Is Your Bucket? In 2003, Clifton received a Presidential Commendation from the American Psychological Association citing him as the father of strengths-based psychology and grandfather of positive psychology.

Every day ordinary people practice random acts of kindness—not seeking attention or to be rewarded. Viral videos often pop up showing people doing good deeds.

In 2013, thousands of people turned out in San Francisco to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s gift for a 5-year-old boy with leukemia. He wanted to be Batkid for a day.

Research shows that we tend to act unselfishly when we watch others do the same, according to a 2013 article in Psychology Today.

Established in 1995, Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) is an internationally recognized nonprofit based in Denver, CO. RAK Week is a worldwide celebration of which takes place the second full week of February each year. www.randomactsofkindness.org.

“Kindness is one of the most underrated traits in the world. We focus so much on material things and attention but forget that it is kindness that brings us a fulfillment that warms our soul.” —The Better Man Project

“The obviously correct answer to the question “Is man good or bad?” is that both are very true. Man indeed is wonderfully good, caring and creative beyond words—our species is an incredible leap forward in the evolutionary scale to which we belong in our mysterious universe. Yet simultaneously man is one rotten manipulator, exploiter, abuser, and killer,” according to a 2018 article in Psychology Today.

“We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.”—Albert Einstein


By Melissa Martin

Reach:Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com. Contact her at [email protected]

Reach:Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com. Contact her at [email protected]