In “Young Goodman Brown”, Nathaniel Hawthorne paints a picture of an evil world. A world where people who seem to be the most good turn out to be the most evil. Although we hate to admit it, we have all done something evil. It is near impossible to live inthis world without doing something with evil intentions.
In Ecclesiastes 7:20, the bible says, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.”. (Holy Bible) We are naturally selfish, in order to survive. The world is evil towards us and evil leads to more evil. Our hypocrisy, influences, selfishness and our actions towards each other is all proof that evil is part of our nature. We are good at pointing out the flaws and evil ways of others. But how about our own evil tendencies? People are so quick to judge each other without realizing their own faults. In Matthew 7:3-5, the Bible says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Holy Bible) Why would someone take your advice if you have not dealt with your own demons? Of course, we will never be perfect, but we have to work on ourselves before we try to work on others. This shows our hypocrisy. We jump at the opportunity to shame another person because itmakes us feel better about ourselves. This is evil and it is a part of our nature. There is a church here in Birmingham that people always recommended to me. I knew a family who attended this church, and they were not very nice people. I had witnessed them judging others and having a nasty attitude. For a long time, this kept me from going to this church. I wondered how they could listen to these great sermons week after week and still be so evil. I was wrong to judge this church by a few members. I was also wrong to judge this family.
Although I try to represent a good Christian, I am a sinner and I have done many evil things that I regret. I still sin on a daily basis. Evil is a part of my nature as much as I try to fight it. I would not want someone to hold my actions against a church that could help their relationship with God. Eventually, I went to this church, and it has truly made me a better person. In “Young Goodman Brown”, the devil says, “I have a very general acquaintance here in New England. Thedeacons of many a church have drunk the communion wine with me; the selectmen of diverse towns make me their chairman; and a majority of the Great and General Court are firm supporters of my interest.”. (Hawthorne) All of these people are hypocrites, justlike you and me. We say one thing, but do another. We might not worship the devil or support his interests, but we like to portray ourselves as righteous when, in reality, we are sinners by nature.Our society as a whole promotes evil.
Look at who we look up to growing up. Ideally, young men should look up to a father figure, someone who provides for the family and is an honest man. Too often that is not the case. We grow up with different men coming in and out of our households. Men who use our mothers and steal from them. Selfish men who have no morals. Their only concern is themselves. Our female role models are no better. Ideally, they should be strong women that teach young women not to depend on others and to not be used by a man. Instead, they go from man to man using them until the benefits run out. They show women that, as long as he is supporting you financially, he can do whatever he wants. Of course, not all men and women are this way, maybe not even the majority. But who is the most popular in the neighborhood? It is these people, especially with the children. This is who our society promotes. Selfishness is cool.
Also, it is an evil world that taught these people to behave this way. If no one shows you pride or gives you a reason to believe in yourself, you feel like you have no other options. This is all you know. Use and abuse, and the cycle continues. This is an example of the evilness of our world. You can be the one that breaks the cycle, but you might have to step out of your comfort zone;you might have to go against your nature. What causes us to be evil? A lot of the time, it seems that there is no reason. One reason why we mistreat each other is because we are selfish. No one is going to look out for you but you. We are constantly choosing ourselves over others. This leads us to mistreat one another. Evil deeds are often associated with promoting ourselves over our fellow humans. In “Young Goodman Brown”, the devil says, “You deemed them holier than yourselves, and shrank from your ownsin, contrasting it with their lives of righteousness and prayerful aspirations heavenward. Yet here are they all in my worshipping assembly.”. (Hawthorne)
These people portrayed themselves as righteous people in the community, but behind the scenes they were devil worshippers. We can assume that these people worship the devil for personal gain. In this dangerous world, it seems like selfishness and survival can become the same. Survival is built into our nature in a world where only the strong survive. One article on the internet states, “But when confronted by a crisis, how we react is totally instinctual and that’s when the selfishness kicks in.”. (Bommisetty) It is disturbing to think that being evil could actually save us in a crisis.Humans are emotional creatures. When we get mad we act out of anger.
Often times regretting our actions once we have calmed down. We return hurt for hurt and the cycle never ends. We hold grudges against one another until we get our revenge. We are constantly behaving evil towards one another, often times on purpose in order to get back at someone for a perceived wrong. In 1 Peter 3:9, the bible says, ”Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (Holy Bible) This is how we should behave but it is a struggle. It is against our nature. In Romans 7:25, the bible says, “…So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law ofsin.” As humans, we are not all-knowing. We do not understand all the repercussions of our actions. Who knows how many people we have hurt or wronged for whatever reason without even realizing? How many times have you looked back at your actions and realized that you hurt someone. It is impossible to live in this world without stepping on toes.
In the short story “Young Goodman Brown” the devil says, “It shall be yours to penetrate, in every bosom, the deep mystery of sin, the fountain of all wicked arts, and which inexhaustibly supplies more evil impulses than human power…”. (Hawthorne) It seems like we are constantly being pushed towards sin in this world. Sometimes, we are even unaware that our actions are evil. In this world that has so much beauty andalso, so much evil, I think that both are a part of us. We as people love one another and we are a part of a beautiful creation. We also hurt one another and sacrifice others for our own personal gain. Being evil towards each other gives us some kind of sick satisfaction. Unfortunately, it is impossible to do no wrong. Evil is a part of our nature. But I think it is important that we still try. We have to try to do more good than evil in a world that is entirely too evil.