Some of us remember the old song, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” in which Leroy is
described as the “badest” man in the whole downtown. I couldn’t say for
sure but perhaps that was the beginning of the times when men thought it good to
be bad. Somewhere along the line people began to associate being bad with being
manly. Therefore, it was good to be bad. This was especially true among men but
today, as more and more women assume what was traditionally masculine roles the
“bad is good” philosophy is evenly spread over both genders.
The popular TV series, Charlie’s Angels, attempted to balance the roles of
“leather and lace.” The angels were at tough as leather when circumstances
called for it but as feminine as lace when they were not in a threatening
situation. Eventually, subsequent series’ which starred women as heroines just
dropped the lace altogether and portrayed women as just as tough, hard and yes,
bad as men. So the women came to be just as bad as the men and many of the women
considered this to be good but since being bad was the mark of manhood the men
were forced to seek new levels of bad. They became wicked and unconscionable.
Corruption became fashionable and violence the order of the day. This level of
“bad” was portrayed in the Dirty Harry movies but in real life men began
murdering their wives and children. Young men would kill their parents. Younger
men would murder their classmates and teachers. It was only a short time ago
that we, as a society, sentenced a thirteen-year-old to life in prison for
shooting a man in the head outside a convenience store. He was eleven years old
when he pulled the trigger.
Shooting someone is bad but the boy who fired the shot apparently thought it
was, at least, permissible, if not good. For a society to certify a
thirteen-year-old to be an adult so they can administer a more severe sentence
is unconscionable. I was not an adult at age thirteen and I suspect that you
were not either. Now, I am reminded of the words of Isaiah, the prophet: “Woe
unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and
light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah
Maybe it is a good idea if, from time to time, we, as a society, step back and
take a close look at those things we consider good and a closer look at those
things that are really bad. Does it really depend on what the definition of
“is” is? Is corruption acceptable when the nation is prosperous and
reprehensible only when the stock market is down?
Let’s take a look at what something that is good really is. Webster defines
“good” as being pure, moral, conscientious, meritorious, virtuous,
righteous, worthy, exemplary, upright, faithful, commendable, admirable,
honorable, benevolent, humane, gracious, obliging, profitable, useful,
serviceable, beneficial, genuine, efficient, proficient, capable, able, suitable
Bad, on the other hand, is defined as being not good, wicked, evil,
reprehensible, defective, inadequate, unsatisfactory, faulty, unsound, unfit,
harmful, spoiled, disreputable, dishonorable, unfavorable, unsuitable, untrue,
rotten, offensive, depraved, corrupt, inferior, deficient, immoral, sorry,
disgusting and degenerate.
It is easy to see why Jesus wants us to be GOOD and faithful servants, to do
GOOD works and speak GOOD things. It is not good to be bad.
Richard L. Shelton
Warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present
every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:28