One Sunday morning around 20 years ago our church’s pastor could not conduct that morning’s service and made arrangements with an instructor of a nearby church affiliated junior college to conduct the service.
I have listened to my share of sermons in my life and this is one of the few I can remember. It was not so much the sermon but the theme that has kept me thinking.
The theme of that morning’s message was: Are people basically good or basically bad?
That was a new question to me and after 20 or so years, I can not say either one way or the other.
Those of us living in rural areas can not only think about good and bad people, but we can provide names for the list. In our minds we can go up and down the roads we know and tell you name by name under which column to place each person.
I have a little trouble classifying people using such a black and white list. There are some people I know who are basically good, but I would have to say I find them annoying. Does that make them bad?
I also wonder where I would be on that list. Am I a person who when someone sees me coming down an aisle at a grocery store, they decide to shop in the next aisle?
When I leave a place are people relieved I am on my way out the door?
When the service ended that morning and our pinch-hitting pastor was greeting people at the conclusion of the service, I told him as we shook hands that I believed people were basically good.
If I remember correctly from that morning, he gave us reasons why people were basically bad.
I also told him that while I believed people were basically good, I did have my car keys in my pocket.
If I believed that people were basically good, I could have left the keys in the ignition. People may be basically good, but I am not going to give them any temptation.
In the 20 years or so of living since that morning my experiences with people have proven to me that there are many more good people than bad ones. My conclusion from that morning remains intact.
I have seen people rush to help each other whether it is health issue, natural disaster, or just give a helping hand, both locally and far away from here. I want to believe that people are basically good.
Like many things in life, your experiences may lead you to a different conclusion. The final answer is not going to be decided today by me or anyone reading this.
And if you have the definitive answer I have your next question that needs an answer.
Several weeks ago as a busy morning was ending for my wife and she did not have as much accomplished as she wanted to for that morning, she said out loud, “Where does time go?”
Now that is a good question. I want to know where does time go.
As one who is frequently running up against a deadline, even after having had enough time to accomplish the task beforehand, I am not sure time is on my side.
Life is full of questions that need answers. While you figure where time goes, I will remain working on are people basically good or basically bad.
I don’t think there is a deadline. I hope not, anyway.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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