Hope 101: A cautionary reminder

By Dan A.

There was no shortage of disappointment this week as two of the most beloved national figures took a mighty fall from grace.

America mourned & cheered with Manti Te’o only to find out the entire story was a complete hoax. And, to add to that kick in the stomach, Lance Armstrong confirmed what many have suspected for years — he too was a complete and total fraud.

As these stories broke they were met by ample commentary from fans and foes on social media:
How could this happen? They were one of the good guys! I never saw that one coming!

That was followed by some good old fashioned anger and defiance:
‘I’m never going to believe in anyone ever again! My faith in humanity is lost!’

It seems that every time someone comes along with the slightest glimmer of promise, and our faith is restored that sometimes the “good guys” do finish first. And then they fall, lose their “good guy” status, and get thrown in the “dirtbag” category with the others.

And so it goes, the vicious cycle of hope fails continues.

Why do we keep getting let down? Here’s my thesis: (Warning! Faith-in-humanity spoiler alert!) There are no good people on the planet. Not even one.

We desperately want to believe that there’s at least at least one left. But the reality is we are merely a collection of broken & flawed souls who are trying to do our best, but are inherently incapable of doing so.

We are all selfish.
We all have inconsistencies.
We all stumble.
We all have moments we regret
We’ve all acted out of greed, anger, selfishness, pride, impatience, or even vengeance.

Therefore, placing your faith, hope & trust in people will only lead to disappointment.

Sure, some of our flaws are more glaring than others (see Weiner-gate). But if you are clinging to Tim Tebow, Barack Obama, Tom Hanks, Marco Rubio, or even your own mom & dad: this I can guarantee: one way or another, you will be let down. So stop putting people up on perfection pedestals. Parents, don’t allow your child to idolize others. God fearing folks should know better – it’s right there in the top 10 – but aside from that, idolizing someone and putting tons of posters up on the bedroom wall is a little creepy. Stalkers do that too.

You are setting yourself up to fail. From Presidents to peasants, people, including yours truly, suck.

How many examples is it going to take before we accept this fact?

Nixon, Clinton, and a gazillion other politicians.
Bonds, McGuire, Sosa, A-Rod, Clemens, Kobe, Marion Jones, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, OJ Simpson,Jerry Sandusky.
Jim Bakker, Ted Haggert, catholic priests and numerous other Christian leaders.
Even the most honorable institution, the military, isn’t immune: from soldiers abusing dead corpses & stacking up naked Iraqis in humiliation pyramids to the seemingly impeccable character of General Petreus, examples of failure are easy to find.

There’s not enough internet space to list the Hollywood examples. But you get the picture.

Faith in humanity is futile. I beg you, America, stop it. Just STOP IT. It’s better to accept humanity for what it is. Flawed. Place your hope elsewhere. Hope is a powerful thing. It can build us up, it can make us soar. But, when we place it in the wrong hands, it can be taken from us. It can crush the soul and lead to despair.

So place your hope carefully. Use it wisely. Find something that never changes, never moves, never lies, never cheats, never steals, never hates and never fails. And put all of it there.

And if you can find someone other than God who fits the bill, let me know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pamela.ryerson Pamela R. Ryerson

    Amen!  There is only One in Whom our hope should be placed – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

  • Anonymous

    Sure, nobody is perfect. But we expect MORE from “role models” and we must DEMAND IT. If everyone takes a cynical attitude and nobody has anyone they can respect and emulate, our society will be in worse shape than it already is.

    What has to happen is that those “heroes” in the public eye who LIE & CHEAT & resort to all mamner of EVILS must suffer the harsh consequences–not just “forgiveness” and being reinstated to abuse those who trusted them all over again. That especially goes for LYING, CHEATING, THIEVING (AND PROBABLY WORSE) POLITICAL-SCUM.

  • http://www.mosquitonet.com/~prewett/ John Prewett

    But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men,

    25 and because he needed not that any one should bear witness concerning man;

         for he himself knew what was in man

    “for all have sinned and fallen short……”

    I learned things the hard way for a long time. Finally I found an easy way.  Heed Jesus.

  • http://www.mosquitonet.com/~prewett/ John Prewett

    “Stop trusting man. He can’t help you.
    He only lives for a little while. What good is he?”
    Isaiah 2:22

  • Anonymous

    Role models do not have to be famous. In the Liberty Mutual insurance commercial, when one person’s goodwill gesture, leads to another and so on down the line, each act becomes a motivation for others. These people become role models themselves. Their whole life doesn’t need to be emulated, just the good things that they do. Each individual’s behavior can have a positive effect on others, if we so choose. There is less respect and kindness out there than ever. If more people would only try to do the right thing as often as possible, maybe it would spread exponentially creating a better place to live and grow. Most if not all of our youth see so many bad examples, it’s no wonder they’re not behaving well.

  • Anonymous

    There are only three persons one can put their hope on:
    The Father
    The Son
    The Holy Spirit
    God will provide…
    J=Jesus
    O=others
    Y=you
    And
    P=praise
    R=repent
    A=ask
    Y=yield
    Simple equation for living well.

  • Anonymous

    Amen Pamela.  I posted the same thing before scrolling down to read yours.

  • Anonymous

    You can not demand of man or woman to become proper role models.  They also have feet of clay.

    Best to simply strive yourself to be a role model…

    and pray God assist you.

  • Anonymous

    Sure you can. You REFUSE TO SUPPORT THEM, their products, their advertisers, etc., when they prove themselves to be LIARS & CHEATS (OR WORSE). Never reward BAD behavior. It’s how we got America into the MESS in which She currently finds herself.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, if you put your hope in a personal god who keeps good people safe, punishes the evil, and answers prayers, you are the one who is definitely going to be disappointed. God doesn’t grant wishes like a genie in a bottle, and personifying god is a sin.

  • Anonymous

    Catholic children did that, and it got them molested.

  • Anonymous

    Ted Haggard! LOL