Nice is Not Good Enough

By: Dr. Ted Baehr; ©2002
It’s all well and good for the “hero” or the “antihero” of a movie to be nice, but shouldn’t we want more than just “nice” in our hero types?


Nice is Not Good Enough

The antihero in movies has become so prominent that people are now actually considering this antihero as being good. For instance, the protagonists in Ocean’s 11 played by George Clooney, Brat Pitt and the rest of the new rat pack are nice, but clearly they are not good. They lie, they cheat, and, of course, they steal. They are the heroes, we are supposed to root for them, but too often people say that, in Ocean’s 11, good triumphs over evil.

An historical example which could bring this to great clarity is that there was several years ago a friend of ours in his 90’s who had been a translator at Yalta after World War II. In fact, at the time, he was the only surviving translator at the Yalta Conference between the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. He pointed out to me, as many people have, that Stalin, the Communist leader of the Soviet Union, was very nice. People were taken (including U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt) with Stalin’s winsome personality. Meanwhile, Stalin was killing millions of his own Soviet citizens, sometimes by his own hands. The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, on the other hand, was a curmudgeon who complained that FDR was giving away too much to Stalin. Prime Minister Churchill looks grumpy in the pictures from the Peace Conference, but Churchill tried to be good, and his purpose was to protect democracy, freedom and the lives of millions of individuals. In his attempt to be good, Churchill even let go of most of the British Empire, which he found to be repugnant to human rights. History has clearly re-evaluated both men.

Harry Potter is another example of a hero who is nice, but who is not good. He dis­obeys rules and, instead of being rebuked for them, is often rewarded. Frodo, the hero of Lord of the Rings, makes mistakes, but ultimately he tries to be good. Of course, another example might be the last couple of presidents—some have been nice, but definitely not good.

The bottom line, however, is that no one is ever truly good. Far from it. That is why only in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, where the Holy Spirit is working in a man or woman’s life, can a person be evaluated as truly good, and that is the rest of the story.

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