I had a moment like that recently. Some of us had gone to a restaurant as a study break; I knew about half the people there and was in some of the same classes with the rest, although I hadn't talked to most of them before. We were all swapping stories and, as a side note to one story, a certain detail about a girl with whom I'm friends came out. It wasn't flattering to her at all, and what made it worse was that the girl telling the story had originally left my friend's name out. A few people wanted to know who it was (I didn't know at that point, but didn't ask), others said "Oh, do you really have to ask? You know exactly who it is. It's ______," to which no one else expressed any surprise and the original story continued on, back on track after the quick detour. I was completely shocked and very saddened, although I think I hid it well enough.
With that detail revealed, a lot of what I knew about my friend began to make sense and, again, it broke my heart to realize it. Like many girls, she'd been taken advantage of before in her life and had taken the lies that come with that as the truth. She's a sweet girl and should have been treated better. Heck, let me be nonspecific: people should be treated better. I'm not perfect; I'm sure I've been like a bull in a china shop with people's emotions before, rampaging around without a second thought for what I leave behind. The guys that take advantage of people like my friend are too often simply acting out on what they've been taught: self-first. They simply don't know any better. Some do, and that's reprehensible, but I think most of the time it's at least a mixture of the two. The girls buy into it and end up not only falling prey to it over and over again, thinking that this time will be different, but even end up enticing guys into the role of user until you have a massive furball of people competing to use each other, thinking only of themselves and not realizing how much hurt they actually cause.
At Kids Across America the highest award that they gave out was the "I'm Third" award. The idea was "God first, others second, and I'm third." I never received this award, and that's probably a good thing: I'd be inclined to rest on my laurels. I don't always put myself third, and too often I put myself first of all. It's something I keep in mind, though, as a goal of how I'm to live.
I don't know what I mean to say by all of this. Treat people better. Be more considerate. If you can't go out of your way to help someone, at least be aware of what's going on around you. Pray for each other (and pray for me, too!). Don't just withdraw from the world;
I'm no better or worse than those around me except that I have a relationship, through Christ and with the aid of the Holy Spirit with God the Father. I am being transformed into a new man. I may be the closest thing a person sees to a reflection of the Living God; how can I let grime and rust obscure that light, or hide myself away lest I be tarnished?
It's scary and it's frustrating. Sometimes I want to simply break down and sob for those around me, both men and women, who have bought into lies and built their lives around them. There is victory in Christ, though, and crying's not going to solve anything.