Classmates shave their heads in solidarity with a sick child.
Someone shares their meal with a homeless man on the street.
A policeman stops to help a little kid tie their shoe.
And the world cries, “Faith in humanity restored!”
Even Christians talk this way without even thinking about it. But I think there’s a problem with Christians using this phrase. Isn’t the fallenness of humanity one of our fundamental beliefs?
Truthfully, we can have no ultimate faith in humanity.
If our faith is in humanity, our faith is in something that will always ultimately fail us. Back in the Garden of Eden, humanity failed us, in the form of Adam and Eve, and ever since then people have been a mess.
The kid will get bullied. The homeless man will get ignored. The disabled girl will be ridiculed and the bad people will reach the top, no matter how little they deserve it. That one sin back in Genesis started a chain reaction that will continue for the whole history of Earth.
Ultimately people will always fail, and people who put their hope in people will always be disappointed.
But what about all those heartwarming stories, all those people doing genuinely good things? They can’t be discounted completely. They can’t be ignored. If humanity is really in as horrible a state as I’ve described, how do we explain random acts of kindness, acts of service, acts of love?
These things should not restore our faith in humanity. They should restore our faith in God.
If the Christian looks at the good things in the world and feels restored faith for humanity, they are committing idolatry, putting humans in the place of God. When we look at the good things in the world, our faith in God should be strengthened, increased, heightened.
Because if humanity is really as badly messed up as Christianity believes, the existence of any good at all is proof that God is present, and He is always working.
He is the one prompting people to serve others, changing hearts and changing lives. On our own, humanity can’t get anywhere. We’re stuck in a cycle of anger and fear and hurt and selfishness. But with God, anything is possible. And because of Christ, He can take a broken humanity and bring beautiful things out of it.
So, those “faith in humanity” Pinterest posts and stories on the radio? They should mean so much to the Christian, because we know that the existence of those posts and stories is only because of God’s grace to the world. When we hear them, we should not feel an arrogant faith in the human race. We should feel a humble, grateful faith in God, who is the only source of beauty and goodness, and who can redeem anyone.
Faith in humanity will get us nowhere. Faith in God will.
What do you think? Have you ever really thought about this phrase before? Do you agree with me? Disagree? Share in the comments below!