We all have the experience of bumping into people who have perfected the art of snubbing others – people who can shout at, abuse or humiliate others at the drop of a hat. They maintain a tough exterior as a matter of strategy. Any show of politeness, to them, is a sign of weakness which others are waiting to exploit. Any smile, they feel, will prompt others to take advantage of them. They hardly trust anyone. Slighting others is a source of entertainment to them. It gives them a feeling of power and superiority over others.
Such people are often those who have power of some kind. The more the power, the more insufferable they are likely to be. They make the lives of their victims truly miserable.
Curiously, such people often have some admirers who shamelessly go on advertising that they are rude only outwardly; that they do not mean any harm to others; that they are excellent human beings; that they are very good at heart.
I find this very funny. How can atrocious behavior be condoned in the name of some hidden attributes? What we are generally bothered about is the outward behaviour of a person, especially when he is not close to us. It hardly matters to us if he has a golden heart. We are hardly likely to ever put his heart to any use.
If I am to meet someone who is a stranger or just an acquaintance, I will rather like him to be mean and wicked, but well-behaved and courteous. Why should I bother about his heart with which I have nothing to do? Of course, if someone is well-behaved and also has a golden heart, I don’t mind. But may God save me from one who claims to hide a golden heart in a devil’s exterior!