Mabait vs. mabuti

12:00:00 AM

For as long as I can remember, I have been using mabait (kind) and mabuti (good) interchangeably. For starters, they are both positive traits, so I didn’t realize that there was a big difference between them until my GrabCar driver pointed it out to me. As it turns out, he was a leader in a Christian community - and when he told me that, I knew instantly that the Universe made sure I got a ride with him that fateful afternoon.
Traffic wisdom.
(photo from the internet)
You see, at that time I was having a crisis of conscience following an incident in one of my social circles. I won’t go into detail about that, but the bottom line is, I felt guilty. I didn’t do anything; my guilt was stemming from the thought that I let things happen. From when I learned about what was happening to the day I found myself in the backseat of my GrabCar, I had been unable to sleep or eat properly, burdened by the idea that I could have prevented everything if I had only been around.

I started to cry inside the vehicle, and when my GrabCar driver asked me what the matter was, I told him everything. He listened quietly and patiently. When I was done, I asked for his thoughts. His answer was beautiful.

He told me that my choices were to be kind or to be good. According to him, “kind” is when you let people be even when they’re doing something wrong, while “good” is when you step up and try to set them straight. Kind is when you stay quiet behind the protective cover of “it’s not my business” or “it’s his or her life and decision,” while good is when you point out what they need to know before they harm themselves and/or hurt the people that matter to them. 

I Googled the definition of kindness for this reflection, and Google gave me this: “Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” Those are all positive qualities, but not necessarily “good.” It made even more sense now: we’ve all heard people say, “You’re too kind for your own good,” but never “You’re too good for your own good,” right? 

My GrabCar driver told me that we should always aspire to be good, even if there are some instances when being good is not similar to being kind. He shared with me that he has been blessed with a lot of good people in his lifetime, and that he has had to let go of a number of people who were just kind. He clarified that kindness is inherently a good thing, but it ceases to be so if it means tolerating or abetting bad deeds.

I got off the vehicle feeling much better than when I got in. Without knowing the difference yet, I had chosen to be good. I called out the people involved to tell them that their actions had consequences, and I learned that that's enough, thanks to that bit of wisdom from my GrabCar driver. 


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