Good and Bad

“Learn to recognize the warmth that often lies behind a harsh and angry manner, and the coldness that often lives behind a polished and pleasing demeanor.”

When I read these words I had to stop and read them again. I asked myself; how can this be? I had always been of the opinion that what a person was inside, good or bad, could be seen in their outward behavior. The above statement, found in the book, “Thoughts from the Seat of the Soul”, presented me with the possibility that my opinion may be wrong.

I began to observe the people I knew, then to pay attention to those in the community, to try and determine if the statement I had read was true.

This is what I found; my best friend is a good person. She is an RN, her job is the Director of Nursing for a nursing home in a small community. There have been times when she has done “bad” things. (Don’t ask, she’s my best friend…I’d never tell.) Yet, I believe she is a good, selfless and giving person. If someone were to see only the “bad” side of her they would surmise that she is a bad person. Which is the true person? I believe both are elements of her personality. I believe this is true of every human being alive. We are a species that are capable of both good and bad behavior. We are a species that can also cover our feelings and hide our emotions. What you see, is often, not what you get.

Then I looked at my family. What I observed was the child-like personalities only a mother could appreciate, but they had matured and grown as well. They have made mistakes in judgment and behaved badly at times. I knew them as they are truly, and I believe they are essentially good people. Then I observed those in the community I live in. The nurse at the clinic, the check-out girl at the store, and I saw people who would say, “Have a nice day” without much feeling or sincerity. I saw those who cut people off in traffic, get out of their cars and help someone loading their groceries or stranded on the side of the road. I saw a paradox in the people all around me. The human being is capable of being both bad and good, depending on the circumstances they are in at the moment. I also realized that while judging these people, I could never look deep inside and tell what motivated them in their behavior.

No one I know, wants to be perceived as a bad person. Yet we all have bad thoughts, and find ourselves acting badly at times. I had determined that the statement I had read had an element of truth. Then I began to ponder the flip side of the question. If good people could behave badly, was the opposite also true?

Were those essentially bad people I knew about, capable of acting good? I looked at the really bad people that I had read about in recent history. Those people that most would agree were bad, like Hitler. I wondered how the entire nation of Germany had been fooled into following him in evil. Was he perhaps acceptable on the outside, all the while hiding his evil self within? Perhaps this was why the whole nation accepted him as their leader, why they were fooled into following him into WWII and why they accepted the actions, the horrors that later were discovered. I wondered about the serial killers in recent history, perhaps their polished demeanor was what enabled them to win the trust of those they came to murder.

I had wondered and thought and observed enough. It is possible to be a bad person and appear to be good; it was possible to be a good person and appear to be bad.

So, is it possible to name the characteristics of a good person. I guess it depends on what your definition of a good person is. I came to this conclusion, That is for God to sort out! Because we cannot know the intentions of the heart within anyone for sure. What may seem a good person, may in the end be the epitome of evil. What may seem like an bad person may be in the end, the most good. I do not believe it is for me to judge.

I will continue to do my best to be a good person in my daily behavior. I cannot promise to always be a good person within my inner self. I would hope not to be judged a bad person just because I was observed in a moment of weakness, being bad.

Good and Bad

debrakcarey

Joined February 2008

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Artist's Description

“Judge not, lest you be judged”….my thoughts on judging others.

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