So many people are quick to judge yet not call themselves a hypocrite. That is how self-righteous many of us have become. We truly gather our strong points and build a character wall between what is authentic and what we want others to believe is real.
The gang member wants the world to know that he is hard core. He produces an outcome by striking fear into others. He uses words like "survival" to explain his behavior. In other words; sharing a message of not wanting to withstand the punishment he has issued to those around him and of what he has gathered for himself. Not quite a call for help, but an outstanding knowledge of misguided solecism has garnered much needed information in order to view the problem from another direction.
But in order to call this street punk's adventures as faulty, we must take a look at ourselves first. What are we doing that would be tacked up in our minds as something we do for "survival?" We may not be living in the streets fighting for our lives every day in a physical sense, but many of us fight for our own character.
The worst thing in the world that can happen to me is for someone to say I did something wrong. Yet when I have knowledge of my unhealthy action, I immediately take steps to correct it. That is the human nature approach to the situation. When God (another word for conscience for non-believers) provides you with that knowledge of your deviation, you immediately push that button that tells you to fix it. So where does your character go wrong? Unlike God, your friends and neighbors remember your misbehaviors for their own self worth. They realize you are not perfect and then feel better about themselves. Many of those same friends will use your faults against you if the situation calls for it. For us, it is a "survival" tool we use on each other everyday.
The outcome either becomes pleasant or undesirable. On the pleasant end, we may try and limit our troublesome ways for the sake of saving face. But on the undesirable end we give in to our displeasures and continue to make those same mistakes. Once that happens, the shrugging effect comes in to play and we act as if we do not have regard for how others view our actions. But on the contrary, it is exactly why we fall in this trap in the first place.
This often becomes the first step in self-hate, hating others, and eventually harming one or the other. Just like the gang member, we are all looking for a way out. But just how hard are we looking? The gang member's character has been flawed in the eyes of his fearful neighbors, yet it is praised in the eyes of his gang. But how much of that is just a show? Can we really expect the gang member to shut God up (conscience) while lying in bed at night after killing a rival gang member? Can we expect his friends to not feel uneasy after praising him for putting in work? I guarantee you his character is now flawed by who he really is. It is up to him to shrug it off and continue to live that harmful lifestyle or else do away with it completely and really become the person everyone already knows him to be.
It is the same for us. Once we provide another person an inaccurate view of who we are, it is up to us to represent that flawed character or to correct it and show them what is real.
The choice is yours, will you choose to "survive" and become the person you know you shouldn't be? Or will you choose to listen to God (conscience) and take the right steps to correct your wrong doings?