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When too much goodness is bad

April 2, 2016

WE should be more aware of this phenomenon and then act accordingly. We are prone to easily get spoiled when we enjoy many good things. This has been proven even in the times of Adam and Eve, and all through the ages. We have to be properly guarded against this subtle danger.

Yes, even in food, if we are not careful and would just let our animal instincts to lead us in our eating, our life would be over in a while, like those pigs that cannot last more than 5 years. They are either slaughtered or explode to death on their own.

And since from our conception in the womb of our mothers to our birth and childhood, we are always doted and pampered and showered with everything that is considered good, comfortable, convenient, we should be wary not to develop a lifestyle of softness, laziness, and selfishness.

While it’s true that we should always be taken care of, especially when we are still babies, we should just see to it that we do not go overboard and develop a monster instead of a human being with a healthy mind and heart.

A more serious problem in this regard is in the department of our spiritual and moral life. Since from the beginning of our thinking life, we have been taught to be good and nice and, if possible, perfect, we should also see to it that that we do not fall into the snare of self-righteousness which is the usual problem with the so-called “good people.”

That’s when what seems to be good is actually evil, and what seems to be evil is actually good. We have to be more aware of this tricky phenomenon, and more adept as well in handling it well. This can be an abiding challenge for all of us. This phenomenon, actually very common, is iconized in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. (cfr Lk 18,10-14)

The Pharisee was the epitome of goodness and correctness. He fasted twice a week, gave tithes of all what he possessed. But his righteousness converted his prayer into a boast, and it simply showed he was separated from God.

The publican considered himself the receptacle of all possible moral sewage. He could hardly lift up his eyes toward heaven. His prayer dripped with compunction, but it reconciled him with God.

We have to understand that good and evil is a matter of whether one is with God or not. Good is good because one is with God. Evil is evil because he is not with God. It’s as simple as that.

Our problem is that instead of referring things – our thoughts, words and actions – to God, we refer them only to our own idea of what is good and evil.

Not much wrong there really. After all, all things we do have to be referred to our own idea of good and evil. Except that many times it’s an idea that has been severed from its proper source and basis – God himself whose perfection is not so much in the physical and technical as in the spiritual and moral that will always include humility, patience, mercy, compassion, etc.

In short, we make ourselves our own God, our ultimate source of what is good and bad, what is correct and wrong. That’s where the problems come in, where the bugs and viruses enter to corrupt our otherwise good idea.

That is why, everyday and very often during the day we need to check whether our idea of good and evil is still vitally linked with God. We have to be wary with our tendency to just flow in a certain routine and inertia of goodness that has already deadened our living connection with God.

How many times have we observed people who are bright but are proud and vain, wise but sarcastic, bursting with good intentions but painfully lacking in charity? They have become self-righteous.

There have been cases where we see objectively good qualities, like their high intelligence, superb eloquence, admirable work habits, etc., ceasing to be a blessing and becoming instead a curse to them and to others.

These qualities have become an occasion to dominate others, to so distort their proper use that they stop serving God and others but have become self-serving or an exercise in ego-tripping. They can even degenerate into sick obsessive-compulsive complexes (OC).

People with this disorder do not like to be wrong or embarrassed or humiliated. They always want to be right and dominant all the time, even resorting to cheating. What a disaster!

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