I saw this quote a few days ago on a friend’s Facebook page. It was by Martin Luther King, Jr. It said, “There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.” Because it is my nature to analyze just about everything, I started reading and thinking about this very interesting message.
Who decides what separates good from evil, anyway? The bible? Laws? Our government? Our parents? Perhaps a little of all those things.
For me, it’s simple. “Good” people do not hurt other people. Even as I type this, I can hear the distant, faint and heavy sighs of my readers as they whisper, “We have all hurt others”. True. So, let me expound on a few generalized standards I have on this subject.
Perhaps better stated: Good people do not intentionally hurt other people. That is not to say that good people do not make mistakes. We do. But when we have hurt someone, we apologize like all the rest of the grown ups in the room. And we do our best to make it right. We don’t have to be asked to do the right thing. We just fix it, not only for ourselves but for the benefit of another. In that, we also sometimes even apologize to those who are undeserving and have actually wronged us in some way. Why? Because that is what good people do. They value the feelings of other people over their egos.
Evil seems pretty straight forward as well. It is the opposite of good. Only evil people cause others pain with intention. They generally do not apologize, unless an underlying agenda exists. They hurt others and cause damage between relationships in order to gain something themselves. They do not care who they hurt in the process of getting what they want. Often, they are surrounded with people just like them. They, of all people, generally speak about partners or friends in their past as having wronged them entirely, with no admission of their own faults or wrongdoings. And they are great pretenders. Every. Single. One.
Can you imagine a serial killer apologizing for his crimes against the humans he has slain and then making it right? Random example, but you get the gist. It doesn’t ever happen without force. And that means, the remorse stems from getting caught, not from being truly sorry for his actions. Evil.
I am reminded of my more religious beginnings, back in a time when I studied the bible daily. I recall scriptures that spoke of men who could deceive even the nations. Those who look good publicly but cannot be trusted. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Though I am not a religious person now, I wish I had learned a little more about discernment back then.
I agree with MLK, Jr. There is good in the most evil of people. Conversely, there is a little evil in the best of us too. In every human there lives love, hate, trust, betrayal, disloyalty, honesty, dishonesty and other opposing qualities and emotions. My experience is that even the worst behaviors can come from someone who is not prone to misbehave if they are put into the right situation – a perfect storm.
Let us stay away from the storms of life, or at least do a better job of seeing them while they are still on the horizon.