By Tom Ehrich

Approaching security at my office building, I reached into my pocket for the wallet containing my ID.

Suddenly, I heard cries, "Dropped keys! Dropped keys!" I knew right away they were mine. I turned and saw a man behind me pick up the keys. He held them out to me.

That quickly, a crisis was prevented. Apartment key, office key, two mailbox keys -- all rescued and a weekend of hassle averted.

For all the greed, anger and bigotry that coarsen our common life, people still tend to do the right thing. That's my experience, at least.

I see people pick up money and hand it back to the one who dropped it. I see people in grocery lines let the person with just one item go first. I see people give subway seats to pregnant women and the elderly. Heads turn when a child cries for help. Hands reach out when a pedestrian falls.

People do the right thing because that's how we are made. That's the God-person inside us. We must be taught to hurt, exploit, prey and kill.

I know some people think it's just the reverse, that hurting the other comes naturally and we must learn to be kind. That isn't what I see.

The key seems to be fear. When something makes us afraid, we lash out, grab for more, become cruel. Until we are taught fear, we tend not to see skin color, tend to be solicitous of other children, tend to share and to protect.

If I could wish anything for Christianity in modern times, it would be that we drop our fear-driven obsession with being right and proving others wrong, and instead proclaim what Jesus actually proclaimed, "Don't be afraid."

Then affirm goodness by being bold in acts of love, whether or not right-opinion concurs.

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