16 So, what is needed?
In the prior post, we
discussed people’s need to be needed. It plays out sadly in pet
food commercials that tug at owners’ generosity emotions. Pets
are supposed to give their owners happiness by gobbling up the
advertised food. Careless owners are tempted to overindulge in
watching their pets eagerly eating, resulting in obese pets.
Carried to excess like this, the artificial need to be
needed is injurious. In this post, we examine what
becomes sinister. For example, people rightly feel needed
when they practice empathy and encourage their neighbors to
succeed. However, the process turns sour when domineering
attention amounts to policing and punishing neighbors. It
is a small fault to put enticing food in front of an overfed
pet. It is a larger fault to put deleterious controls on
suffering people—to take away the very tools they need to
Hurting people hurt
people. Injurious behavior reveals that there is something
missing in the psyche of the perpetrator. One possibility
is that people do not act with love because they do not
experience love. In the face of this deficiency, there is
harm in taking something away from people whose
needs are already not being met. Obese pets need regulated
nutrition. The human offender needs psychological
Forgiveness does not
include being vulnerable to reinjury. We do not shower an
offender with opportunities to go on offending. That said,
we do not take away beneficial conditions.
Antisocial behavior is not repaired by taking away all
behavior. It is treated by replacing bad with
good behavior. Injecting love into the void provides
direction and fosters improvement.
In one example of
restorative justice, there is no black-robed judge seated on an
elevated platform. Instead, there is a round table
providing equal dignity to all the parties involved in a
resolution process. Participants examine the deficiencies
that led to one or more infractions of rules. Together they
carry out a program of reconstruction and healing. Injuries
may not be reversible, but the process redirects lives, and
results in restored and improved social
The best thing to be
needed for is a better future.
Being For Others Blog copyright © 2020 Kent Busse
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