Why be good?
Leo Tolstoy titled one of his works as “God sees the truth but waits.” In this story, the protagonist is incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. He despairs of regaining his freedom but never loses hope that someday justice will prevail. He spends almost three decades in prison, yet he holds on to his conviction that the Omniscient Being who sees and knows the truth will judge him justly. At the end of the story, he dies full of hope and joy because at last, he is freed and judged accordingly.
This story speaks of the injustice being committed in society. There are people who suffer for the crimes of others and there are also people who find joy in letting others suffer. The justice system is corrupted by greed, wealth, power, and pleasure. Justice has become the privilege of the rich and powerful, who are able to manipulate and dictate on human affairs to their advantage. As a consequence, today only a few believe in justice; a big number no longer trust the system. With this attitude, people are lost and more injustice is committed. Since the reality of justice is hardly seen, its concept is distorted.
The unforeseen impact of this reality in society is that a person ceases to be good. Why be good? The answer depends on one’s perspective. Some are good because of the idea of reward and avoidance of punishment, others are good because of other people’s expectation, and still others are good because they choose to be good.
Real goodness stems from the thought that a human being is by nature good. Gen. 1:27 states: “God created man and woman in His image and likeness.” If that were so, then man and woman carry such image and likeness with them. The image and likeness of God pertain to His attributes as a Perfect Being. As a Perfect Being, He lacks nothing. He is omniscient (all-knowing) and omnibenevolent (all-good).
As beings created after God’s image and likeness, man and woman share His attributes. Thus, be good because you share in God’s goodness. Do good because He knows and sees what you think and do regardless of the perception of other people around you. If people realize, acknowledge and live this truth, then they will continue to be good and do good in spite of the reality of injustice being committed by others.
Why be good? Be good because by nature you are good.
Henry P. Bilan, 28, is a Grade 11 social science teacher at Tabuk City National High School.
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