An article written by my father, the Rev. C. Thomas Paige, as it appeared in the Tri-State Defender on the date shown.
A few days ago, a young lady came to me and asked me, “What good is there in trying to do right?” She noted that all around her people were doing things that she would not dare do but they seemed to be successful in their actions. The question foremost in my mind is that is this young lady typical of many of the minds of our day.
All about us we see people who are constantly doing wrong and apparently getting away with it. But are they actually getting away with it? Are those people who resort to cheating, lying and other various means of deception getting away with it? These things may seem as gains to many people while they are going on, but later years will reveal things altogether different. Far removed from these actions will be a conscience that must be reckoned with.
Historically, men have sought to take short cuts. History also shows that in many cases, men have been able to be successful in these activities – at least for a season. But what a tragic thing for a man to look over his past achievements and realize that part of which he has received credit is not merited. How tragic it is for a man to have to live under the apprehension that he might be caught. This idea of being eventually caught haunts many a man as he lives in this day of fear and anxiety. Yet amidst all of this, many of us have never realized that such action will show up in future activity.
That person who achieves thru means that may be labeled dishonest eventually comes to the place where, one day, he will find himself on trial and unable to measure up to what is expected of him. In this life, many times we see people who are unable to do what is expected of them largely because they have constantly been concerned with taking short cuts. The rising tide of failures in later life is, in many instances, traceable to the lack of honest dedication in earlier years.
Sometimes life does seem very discouraging when those about us are moving ahead by leaps and bounds. In the meantime, those who resort to honesty move ahead only by steps at a time. The slowness of the moving by the honest many times seems most unrewarding but at the end of the trail, this slow, honest moving pays off. Those individuals who satisfy themselves by doing what is right and honest will, in all probability, be a little longer in getting to their goals, but in most cases, they will be more secure.
I know that from the way this young lady spoke to me as she was ready to throw away her high standards and resort to the same tactics of those about her. I reminded her that doing what seems popular always has its price tag. This price tag might be expressed in terms of insecurity, plague of conscience, and the like, that will always keep the person involved from living life at its fullest. No normal person can give the most to life being constantly haunted by an unsavory past. In spite of the dark clouds that honesty sometimes presents, each of us must rise up to the point where we will be able to rise above such action.