The best and worst of humanity

Pastor Matthew Best
4 min readSep 3, 2018

Watch this video. It’s a great story. And realize that the lessons from this video go much deeper than what is there on the surface.

I share this for a couple of reasons. 1. It’s a great story. 2. It’s a reminder that when we set aside human-made tribal identities, recognize our common humanity, and see that we need each other — amazing things can happen. This is humanity at its best.

Don’t let others, especially those with loud voices, drown out what really matters. At the end of the day, humanity is more alike than it is different — yet even our differences are a beautiful thing and add so much. In this video people came to the rescue of a family in need. They didn’t ask if the family were illegally in the country, what color their skin was, what religion they were, what their sexuality was, what languages they spoke, what country they were from, their economic status, their ideological beliefs, whether they supported certain politicians, or any other BS like that. They saw and responded to a need and showed a piece of what true greatness is — selfless giving, working together, saving lives, joy, care, concern.

I’m tired of politicians and leaders stoking fear and anger, bitterness and resentment, victimhood and division, fake patriotism and disrespect, immaturity and narcissism. We don’t benefit from any of those things. No one’s life is improved by any of these things. No nation is improved by any of these things. No religion or faith that promotes these things is worth following. No ideology that promotes these things ever lasts — nor should it. There is no economic benefit worth anything if its foundation is any of those things. Because it won’t last — it’s rotten and empty at its core.

Or to put it the way that our Gospel reading for Sunday stated:

Then [Jesus] called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.’ For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’

If you’re tired of these things too — good. You are not alone. The way to stop it is not by fighting against it with the same methods — you only become that which you don’t like. Instead it’s to live out what you see in this video — selfless giving, working together, saving lives, joy, care, concern. I would add love, forgiveness, being a peacemaker, grace, mercy, humility. These are what makes someone great. These are what makes a nation great. Live lives that people want to emulate, not make excuses for how you live your life or justify how you live or the results that you somehow manage to get. Bury the idea that the ends justify the means. This is one of the most destructive beliefs that ever existed — and completely opposed to what Jesus was about. Jesus didn’t teach or live by the ends justifying the means. If you believe that the ends justify the means then you need to honest about who is Lord in your life.

The means matter far more than the ends. How you live matters. You could get the greatest results in the world, but they will be rotten to the core and won’t last if they are built from rotten values and rotten means. And they will crumble — hard and fast when the foundation falls away. It is what comes from inside that defiles and makes the results “unclean” and rotten.

The time has come to live lives that matter. To live as though the means matter far more than the results — because they do. To actually live out what you claim to believe in — not just give verbal assent. To actually live it. Faith without works is dead. Likewise verbal agreement without action is empty and worthless. In other words, put your money where you mouth is and then I’ll know that you are legit.

If you have to make excuses for the behavior, actions, or words of someone because you like the results, then you believe that the ends justify the means. But show me where Jesus taught his disciples, or anyone, this way of living. Show me. I challenge you. I dare you.

And when you can’t show me, will you then give up this defiled way of thinking? A way of thinking and living that is destructive to people. Will you then actually start living as a follower of Jesus, like you claim that you are? Will you? Or are the excuses more important?

Originally published at on September 3, 2018.

Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.