The Crowded Middle

An evil man who does not care for people's judgments of him is the worst kind of evil man. He cannot even contain his lower nature for the selfish benefit of his reputation. If that is true, then it is also true that a good man who does not care for people's judgments of him is the best kind of good man. He will not even placate his lower nature for the benefit of his reputation. Each of these two men is capable of doing anything he can imagine after his own kind: one to evil, one to good. Each of these two men is freed to live like his heart would have him live: one twisted, one right. Each lives in intellectual honesty, because he allows his actions to reflect the real state of his conscience.

All people who decide their courses of action based upon the judgmental thoughts of others are crowded together in the middle between these two extremes. Among them, there is little difference between the good and the bad. This is my definition of mediocrity. Neither group does anything extraordinary. The one group never does anything "too bad," and the other never does anything "too good." Certain things are "too bad" even for common criminals. Good that is purely good becomes seen as "radical" or "idealistic" even to "good" people, either because hardly anyone ever does it or because any person who does demonstrates that they aren't really as good as they would like to think they are.

You have more important things to mind than refuting false claims about yourself or absorbing your time with the attempt to convince stubborn people of your reasons. God will see that more good, by His meaning of "good," will be done when you are silent, however hard it may be, than when you are decrying your accusers and justifying your good intentions. It's just as ultimately futile to boast of what you haven't done as it is to boast of what you have.

If you live, live to God; if you die, die to God (Romans "14:8"). If that means anything to you, let it mean that you leave your defense with God, as well.

There is a second part to this article, one which clarifies the first a great deal. Read "The Crowded Middle: Addendum."

About this entry

Login with Facebook