If anyone had an excuse to believe the worst of his fellow man, Victor Frankl did. Imprisoned for three years in Nazi concentration camps, he saw the worst of human behavior. He was stripped of everything except one thing: his human spirit. They couldn’t take his will to find purpose and beauty and love and joy in life – even a life lived in the shadow of death.
If you pay attention to the evil that is apparent in our country and in our world right now (and you should, but I’ll save that topic for a future post), it is tempting to underestimate people, to see where people fall short, to even dwell on our own inability to make a difference. Frankl, however, encourages us to do the opposite. He encourages us to recognize the “spark” that is in each of us -- despite the temptation to do otherwise -- and by doing so, help people become their best selves.
And what’s the downside? We may get it wrong every now and then and be a bit disappointed. But so what? That would happen anyway. Now think of the upside. As Frankl put it, “We have to be idealists. If we take man as he is, we make him worse. But if we take man as he should be, we make him capable of becoming what he can be.” And no doubt we need everyone to become all God intended them to be.
photo credit: Electric Connection by Idea Go on free digitalphots.net