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Who is a Good Person?

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This is a user-submitted article. We make no guarantees regarding any item herein. Note that views of author do not necessarily reflect our views.


Who is a Good Person?

By: A sinner in need of emendation

Summary: When is a person good?

Keywords: Good Person, Good People, Sinners, Primary Duty of Persons

Would you believe me if I told you a doctor with the following record was a good doctor?

* doctor operated on the wrong area of 25 separate patients

* doctor left surgical instruments in patients 50 times

* doctor occasionally came to work after drinking alcohol

* doctor repeatedly let his license expire

* doctor has lost numerous malpractice claims that were submitted against him

You still wouldn't believe me if I insisted that this doctor was a "good doctor" would you? And you wouldn't believe me precisely because his record showed otherwise, right?

Then why is it we're supposed to believe others' claims that someone is a "good person" when they...?

* don't attend Mass regularly

* don't go to Confession

* have been 'divorced & remarried', contrary to God's laws

* regularly dress immodestly

* watch immodest programs on television

* practice contraception

Our PRIMARY #1 job as human beings is to know, love, and serve God. If we don't do this, we certainly can't be considered good now can we? Rather, if we fail at this we are bad. Therefore, please stop saying someone is good only to follow with a catalog of their sins (gossip!) - the list being the very proof that they are not good. Someone who spends much of their life offending the all-holy God is no more a "good person" than a doctor who spends much of his career making medical mistakes.

When people - especially Catholics - make such claims about others (or themselves) being "good" when their history proves otherwise, they create scandal. They sound about as stupid as someone who tries to convince others that the above doctor is "good" and, I believe, they offend God by saying someone is good when that person's actions repeatedly offend God.

Such rash comments - even though the speaker may think he is being charitable - essentially ignore the malice of sin. Sin should not be treated lightly - it is the biggest evil in the world. St. Francis of Assisi said that even if we committed only ONE venial sin ever we would have cause for penance for our entire lives.

Remember that Jesus said no one is good but God alone (Mark 10:18). Of course when God created humans, they were good. However, since sin has entered the world, our natural "goodness" (e.g. our inherent goodness of being a human being made in God's image) can be tarnished - just as many angels tarnished their goodness by disobeying God and becoming devils. No right-thinking person would still think a devil was "good" simply because the devil was originally created "good" (an angel!) now would they? Rather, their choices made them bad - evil in fact.

Truthfully, aren't most of us serial-sinners, more in need of emendation rather than praise? It certainly is not charitable to overlook offenses against God by pretending that someone who keeps choosing to sin against Him is "good." Rather it is a deception. How can anyone possibly be "a good person" if they fail at a person's primary job in life - to know, love, and serve God. That is the ONLY standard of our personal goodness that matters. We must make this our objective standard - not some touchy-feely wishful-thinking sentiment that is untrue, scandalous, and possibly offensive to God.

So, please stop calling chronic sinners good. Rather sinners must strive to actually become good, by the grace of God. You do NOT do a work of charity by speaking untruthfully. It would be better to praise an actual good quality of that person (one that is used rightly, with the proper intent, and for truly good purposes) than paint them with the broad stroke of being a "good person" despite their many sins.

Signature ImageSignature: A sinner in need of emendation


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