Sunday’s Wisdom #19: There’s Still That Bad Thing

“You know, you tell yourself, ‘I’ll just do this one bad thing, but all the good things I’ll do later will make up for it.’ But they don’t. There’s still that ‘bad thing.’”
-Harvey Bullock
Gotham
Season 1, Episode 18, “Everybody Has a Cobblepot”

It’s a harsh truth, and for some, it may seem unreasonable: all the good you ever do can be wiped away with one ill deed, one “bad thing.” Perhaps, as in the case of Bullock, the situation is stacked against you, so it seems like your only way out is “the bad thing.” You can justify it, in the moment, as something you need to do. The person you’re hurting probably deserves it, right? You can tell yourself, it’s so you can go on and do better things, things that will make it all worth it in the end.

But the guilt never goes away. The stain on your soul remains, no matter how hard you scrub and how much you polish. And there is always the constant fear that someone will dig your skeleton out of the closet and use it to bury you, to destroy everything you cherish, everything you’ve worked for. The stain, the guilt, the fear… they can combine into a terrible madness, dangerous to others and to yourself.

Some will say it’s impossible to make the right choice. It’s too difficult, too dangerous, and too complicated. True, it’s not easy, and the price we pay can seem disproportionately high. But I’d say, in the long view, it’s far easier and lower-priced than the alternative.

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