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Finding the Good in a Bad World

By:  Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.

Fort Fairfield Journal, March 2, 2016

 

     I graduated from the University of Southern California.  USC's nickname is the University for Spoiled Children because it's a fairly expensive private college.  While it's a great school, it's also located in the middle of a really bad part of town.  I actually grew up in a different part of Southern California where it wasn't quite like USC.

   I remember one day I was out in my Dodge Colt station wagon, which was the only car I could afford as an undergraduate.  I tried to go to the supermarket and I ended up getting lost.  I found myself in a bad part of town.  A police officer from the LAPD pulled up behind me with his lights flashing.  So, here I am, I'm probably 18 years old, I pull over and an officer gets out and walks over to me.  I thought the worst.  I thought, what have I done?  I'm not speeding, I'm driving really slowly because I don't know where I am.  Does he think I'm out here buying drugs?  Why is this officer approaching me?  I roll down the window.  It turns out he had seen the USC bumper sticker on the back of my car and he asked, “Are you a USC student?”  I said, yes I am.  He said this is a strange part of town for you to be in.  I said I know officer, I'm lost.  He said, I figured as much, this probably isn't a safe place for you to be so please follow my squad car and I'm going to guide you back to school.  He literally helped me find my way home.  This was the days before GPS or cell phones.  I had no clue on how to get back and he actually guided me back to the school.  This officer pulled me over because he was actually worried about me.  Wow!

   Afterwards, I thought what an interesting experience to have in one of the nastier parts of L.A.  I'm sure there are police officers out there who do those kinds of things all the time and unfortunately you don't see them on the six o'clock news.  That experience always stuck with me as I hear the stories about the riots and the like.  I was actually in Los Angeles during the riots that followed the Rodney King story breaking and I sat in front of the TV with a baseball bat in my lap scared to death that somebody was going to break my windows.  It can be rough out there and those are my two experiences of the darker side of L.A.

   Coming from that background and coming from that environment where there are gang members, being a cop in those kinds of areas is to take your life into your hands.  With that said, there are some police officers who continue to maintain their love of humanity and are willing to look at someone who is a criminal, who is in jail, or in trouble and instead of seeing what most cops see—which is this person as the enemy—some cops instead see them as the Lord sees them: as someone who needs His help and His salvation.

   I don't want to sound like I'm stereotyping all lower income people who live in a rough part of town as being criminally minded.  Indeed, studies have shown just the opposite in many cases.  I recently read a report entitled Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior.  It showed research that demonstrated the higher your social class, the more likely you were to engage in unethical behavior.  There is an assumption about the poor being criminally minded.  Doesn't this research seem to put those assumptions on their ear?   The report cited seven studies that revealed upper class individuals tend to behave more unethically than lower class individuals.  These unethical tendencies are accounted for in part by their more favorable attitudes towards greed.

   So, we can say of ourselves as we sit in our suburban homes, go to work at our regular jobs and live our law-abiding lives that we're on the “good” side while there are criminals out there on the bad side. But, it's much more complicated than that.  When it comes to sin and the Glory of God, we have all fallen short regardless of our social standing.

   One of the wonderful things about the good news of the Bible is it doesn't matter how far you have fallen.  It doesn't matter how low you are, it doesn't matter what you've done.  We are living in the Biblical era of mercy and grace.  What a wonderful thing that is.  Humankind used to live in the era of the Law, of getting what it deserved and that was kind of tough.  I don't think any of us would survive that today.  We're now living in an era of grace and if we are to reflect the glory of our Father truly, we should ourselves be in a position of mercy and grace toward our fellow man and spend every day thanking God for the mercy and grace that He gives us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This editorial was transcribed and adapted for print from a recent Katherine Albrecht radio program, by David Deschesne, with her permission. Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D. is a syndicated radio talk show host on the Genesis Communication Network. Listen to her program live daily, or download her podcast for listening at any time at www.gcnlive.com Katherine’s website is: www.katherinealbrecht.com 

 

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