The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

David Johnson wrote two back-to-back articles a few years ago and I want to run them again over the next two weeks. I learned a lot from them, and I hope you will too. – Tim

The world is often interested in bad people; that’s why gossip magazines sell. It’s sad if you consider yourself to be ugly, for there are likely beautiful and interesting things about you. But we do not especially thrill when we hear the word “good.” In fact, we often relax and stifle a yawn. We are interested in the clever, the rich, the courageous, even the bad. But not especially good people.

Probably the best and worst advertisement for Christianity is Christians. The New Testament speaks of a man who was a great advertisement. In speaking of Barnabas, it says, “For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” (Acts 11:24)

If people say we are good looking and cultured we are delighted, but who is complimented by being called good? It is important to remember that in spite of the misconception, the word AGATHOS – translated good – is not a weak word.

The word is strong and brawny. It has the shoulders of Samson and the lifting power of Hercules. It means profitable, generous, upright, beneficent, and virtuous. God used it to describe Barnabas because it was the best word. He was generous, a man of faith, he thought of others, and was a truly spiritual person.

Ugliness can’t be helped unless it’s character problem. To be bad might make you interesting, but you’ll harm others and yourself. But goodness makes you beautiful and banishes badness. It is one of the purest flowers that can bloom in our soul.

Seek it out and learn its ways. Barnabas did and people have appreciated him for 2,000 years.

– David Johnson, with revisions from Tim Johnson