Friendship for the Win, Tobby!

When I was younger, I thought that getting even, as in the revenge kind of “getting even,” with other people who wronged me would bring peace to the world. I guess that’s one reason as to why I found it difficult to take the advice that was being told to me a lot by people like my parents, and that advice was: “Don’t mind the verbal insults of those who bully you,” or, to put it more simply, “Don’t let the bullies take control of your life.” Huh, I also remember both of my grandfathers, during various instances in the past, to beat up those who bully me, and I found it hard to take their advice back then, mainly because of my fear of getting hurt even more, physically and psychologically, in return.

But now…I really don’t approve of getting revenge on others, and this time, it’s because of different reasons.

I’ve seen various stories, from both fiction and reality, of people trying to get revenge, be it a villain whose plans were foiled by a hero, or a hero who wants to “deal justice” to a villain who wronged them. And to be honest, those stories–or specifically, the idea of revenge being a good solution to a problem–are pretty saddening to me. Since when did the world become better after revenge, under the label of “justice,” was dealt to a criminal? Would the world really become a better place if we insult and hurt sinners, when all of us are sinners in one way or another?

To be honest, I haven’t known of a person who was evil since birth, and I don’t think that there will ever be a person like that. I believe that all people are inherently good, you know. And with that belief, I also believe that no one deserves to be hated. I guess many people, if not everyone, want to make the world a better place to live in. What are we really wanting to eradicate? Sin? Or sinners? A sin and a sinner are two different things, and the mistake of considering a sinner to be a sin is one big common mistake that many of us have been doing. Do you know why I don’t approve of the death penalty? It’s because one, it’s murder, and two, it’s taking away the chance for a person to be good and make the world a better place. And you know what, I also don’t approve of the attitude (note: attitude, not people) of having “acceptable targets of hatred,” because that’s also discouraging the “acceptable targets” to make the world a better place.

And this would probably earn me a lot of hateful comments, but still, I prefer being honest, anyway: I don’t approve of bashing a “Public Enemy #1” like Justin Bieber.

I’ll be honest here: I’m not that interested in Bieber’s music, I’m not that interested in his everyday life, and I don’t even approve of the attitudes that he has been showing lately, but I don’t think he’ll ever change for the better if we decide to send him all our hatred and do nothing to show him what being kind and respectful really means. Same goes for all the other people that most of society has labeled “Public Enemy #1’s.” They’ll never change for the better if we send them all our hatred and do nothing to show them what being kind and respectful really means, too.

Sin has been turning us people into its puppets for a long time now, and you know, we will never be turned into its puppets if we never choose to become its puppets. Sin tries hard through to temptation, too, and it makes our lives a really difficult road for us all, so why not help each other out in choosing to avoid sin? Why not be kind and respectful to fellow sinners? Why not show them that justice and charity can go hand in hand? We should aim to stay away from the puppeteer called sin, and if we shun and hate the puppets that let themselves be controlled by sin, then I’m pretty sure that sin is already controlling us, too.

It's your choice. Will you choose to use the key to unlock your heart that sin tries to lock and control? Or will you let sin turn you into its puppet? It's your choice.

It’s your choice. Will you choose to use the key to unlock your heart, which can find true happiness, that sin tries to lock and control? Or will you let sin turn you into its puppet and drive you far away from true happiness? It’s your choice.

It’s your choice. I’m just another influence here…an influence that can’t control you. You’re free to not listen, you’re free to mock, you’re free to listen, you’re free to respect, you’re free to choose, even if I don’t want you to. I can only control myself, and I can choose to be happy and hopeful, I can choose to be calm and in control, I can choose to be sad and in despair, I can choose to be upset and in distress, even if you don’t want me to.

Now then, time to remind myself:

Friendship for the win, Tobby!

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11 thoughts on “Friendship for the Win, Tobby!

  1. I think a quote that I read from the Gloss applies here: “Justice and mercy are so united, that the one ought to be mingled with the other; justice without mercy is cruelty; mercy without justice profusion.” The whole goal of mercy is to bring people to justice. Christ died on the cross so that we sinners might become saints. But, it is certain that the world often criticizes celebrities for the pleasure of showing them contempt rather than exposing their bad example or admonishing them to correct their bad behavior.

    But, I think that criticism of the death penalty is incorrect. The fact that it forms part of Mosaic Law and that no one condemns capital punishment in the New Testament suggests that it is, at very least, a just punishment for those that commit heinous crimes. I think that the current opinion of the Church is that capital punishment falls under self-defense. Some societies do not have the facilities to incarcerate someone such that they cannot harm other people–think of the Wild West–and so must have recourse to the death penalty. Though, it is notable that Christian countries during the Middle Ages rarely applied the death penalty to ordinary crimes–but heaven help you if you committed a crime against the government! Coiners were boiled to death after all.

    My own opinion is that there are certain villains in society who are so hardened in wickedness and commit crimes which the mind shudders to imagine. These should be executed without remorse once they have gone through the appeal process. Rather, I find myself disagreeing with life imprisonment, since people in prison for life with no threat of the death penalty often commit crimes against prisoners actually capable of reform.

    • To be honest, I do believe that everyone is capable of reform, and I don’t quite agree with your view on life imprisonment. Your view reminds me of how prisons are usually viewed these days: a place that is like a garbage dump where criminals are left to rot, where many people there become worse. But I think prisons can become places where hope lies, as I still, and I always will, believe that everyone is inherently good, and that even the hardest hearts can be reformed. I don’t think prisons mean the end of happiness. Prisoners can still choose to be happy, but I think that it’s difficult for them, and that they need help from others to be able to find and choose true happiness. I would keep on trying to influence someone to be better, but changing is their choice. I’d rather be just while being kind, still. I also believe that there’s always a proper solution to a problem, you know! And let me ask you this question: What do you think is imprisonment really for?

      And by the way, I’d like to give an example of a really optimistic character who tried to rehabilitate criminals that seem hopeless when it comes to being rehabilitated: Makoto Naegi from Dangan Ronpa. I’m pretty much going to spoil you here regarding the 2nd game of the series, but I’ll try to keep it to a minimum: He had to deal with remnants of a group who were basically a bunch of despair-filled murderers that messed up the whole world, and he didn’t leave them, but he tried to help them. The plan that he and his companions had set up went through some big complications, but at least he had managed to help some of these remnants to move on from their horrid pasts even after they were revealed to these remaining remnants. This is one reason as to why I am so inspired by Makoto Naegi, you know!

      • Human nature is problematic. It is certainly true that anyone can be saved, even the most abandoned. But, certain people begin preferring darkness to light and can become so warped that they hate the light and love darkness. Think of Gollum. God can certainly save the Gollums of the world, but they harm other human beings in the meantime. If they do terrible harm without a sign of repentance, I should prefer to put them down.

        What is imprisonment for? I would say it is a place for criminals to repay a debt of justice and reform themselves. The second reason is why life imprisonment makes little sense to me: it basically says X is beyond reform and should never enter society again. And certain people consider life imprisonment about the same or crueler than the death penalty. Imprisonment should be harsh enough to make them never want to commit a crime again, but not so cruel that it makes them worse.

        It sounds Makoto Naegi is a great character. I am reminded of St. Joseph Cafasso, who helped death row inmates make peace with God before their execution. After the first condemned man died unrepentant, he begged God that all of the others he worked with repented. So successful was he that the rest of his convicts died penitent, and the executioners said with St. Joseph Cafasso death was a pleasure and a joy. You see, he made the condemned realize that they were performing the greatest penance possible and could expect to go directly to heaven.

      • Well, we all have different views, and I don’t need to flip out or force you to believe in what I believe in. As for me, I guess it’s definitely hard for most people to see light in people that seem to be incorrigible (I wonder if I used this word right?). Anyway, speaking of Saint Joseph Cafasso, his name was a name for a section that I was part of during a certain year of my high school in a Catholic school run by the Salesians of Don Bosco. I feel like I’ve read about what Saint Joseph Cafasso while reading about Saint John Bosco’s life, too. Oh, on a side note, have you studied in a Bosconian school in the past? I studied in one during my whole high school years, you see, and your mentioning of Saint Joseph Cafasso made me want to ask about that.

      • I seem to have accidentally replied without writing the rest of my comment. 🙂 Here it is:

        I’m familiar with St. John Bosco, though I haven’t been to a Salesian school. St. Joseph Cafasso was St. John Bosco’s mentor. Both are very incredible people. There is actually a third saint named St. Joseph Cottolengo who was a contemporary of theirs also from Turin. I find St. John Bosco especially interesting for his dreams and the fact that he wrote an 18 volume record of his life–or something large like that. If only I could find a library which has it!

      • As for me, I’d like to visit the Salesian oratory at Turin someday. And I really like what he did in his life, like the Preventive System and helping the youth. I feel really thankful for being able to study in a Salesian school, too, you know!

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