Is this you? You were taught to be “good,” you naturally try to be and do good, you believe it is the “right thing” to be good, yet the message you get from the world is that those who find success these days are the ones who think being “good” is for chumps.
It’d be easy to ignore if it weren’t for the fact that being bad does seem to pay off more than being good–at least that’s what you find on TV, in movies, books, computer games, and the Internet. Even in your own life, you earn a degree, but can’t find a job, put in long hours at work, but don’t get promoted or end up laid off, stay faithful to your spouse, but they cheat on you. Isn’t being “good” part of the unspoken deal with God, or fate, or the universe, that there would be rewards for being good?
There’s no denying it. It’s the rule breakers, back stabbers, mean girls, bad boys, little liars, gangsters, bullies, tantrum throwers, binge-drinkers, dope takers, sex tape producers, teen babies out-of-wedlock makers, and that whole “I do what I want and everyone else be damned” crowd getting all the attention. Even our superheroes have gone bad. There was a time when the bad guy was never killed–he was brought to justice. Now, every superhero story is filled with destruction and killing by the good guys just as much as the bad guys. Sure, there’s a story or two about some wholesome, clean, goodhearted person who’s achieved success, but soon-or-later a scandal comes out revealing that they, too, have a drug addiction, bedded their best friend’s spouse, cheated on their taxes, drag raced past kids playing, or whatever. It’s only a matter of time before that cute kid on the Disney channel grows up to swing naked on a wrecking ball or fill a plane with pot smoke, a matter of time before that family-values politician gets arrested for hiring prostitutes or taking bribes, a matter of time before what you wanted to believe was true about being good turns out to be a big fat lie.
There was a time when doing bad things equalled being an evil person, but that picture’s changed. The people doing “bad” things actually believe what they do is the “right” thing–even though technically it could be labeled as bad–and they’re being applauded for it. Is Miley Cyrus turning music videos into soft porn, or is she a savvy business woman wracking up immense sales? If big money and fame is the reward, does it matter that it takes being “bad” to get there? If a high school student doesn’t plan on becoming an engineer or go to med school, does it matter that they cheat on the math part of their SAT to get into a better college?
Is being bad today about being evil, or a reaction to broken trust? Do we do good things for their own sake, or are we actually expecting a payoff? And now that the payoff we used to get for being good is shifting over to reward those who do bad, is being good worth it anymore?
What does being and doing “good” mean to you? Should you trash “good” to reap the treasures of being “bad?” All the rewards of being bad can be seen just by looking around you these days–but what do you see when you look within yourself? If you trash “good” on the outside, do you really think you’ll find treasure on the inside?