When I was a kid, I loved throwing rocks in the pond just to see the ripples swirl out from the center. And, the larger the pond, the further the ripples spread. The things we say and do, or the things we neglect to say and do, represent the rocks. Every action, or non-action, has a rippling effect in life, and the ripples touch the lives of a lot of people. Plus, once the rock is thrown and the ripples begin, there is no stopping them! Doing the right thing has a rippling effect in our society; so does neglecting to do the right thing!
Failing to do the right thing is even now making the national headlines —
A prestigious coach at a proud University neglected to do what he knew was right. It was reported to him that one of his assistant coaches was guilty of molesting young men in the Athletic Department. The “right thing” would have been to report this molester to the police, to have him arrested and brought to trial. That’s the law! The reputable coach’s neglect/ failure to do the right thing has now rippled out, the truth has surfaced, and a lot of lives are suffering the consequences. The famous coach, once looked-up-to and honored, now faces disgrace. The proud University has been smeared with a black-mark of shame. Assistant coaches with bright futures, now face a very bleak future. The sexual predator, allowed to ruin the lives of young men for an additional ten years, now in his old-age, faces the rest of his life in prison. Plus, the families of all those involved face the ruination of their lives.
Why did an honorable coach fail to do the right thing? First, he wanted to protect his coaching position. Secondly, he tried to protect the reputation of his coaching staff. Finally, he was attempting to protect the reputation of the University that paid his salary. Fear of losing it all caused the coach to do the wrong thing! And as the truth caught up with them they all suffered!
How does one know for sure what the “right thing” is? First, learn from the law-of-the-land! Know the law. Obey the law. Uphold the law. Laws were passed to provide us with guidelines for “right” and “wrong.” Laws were made to provide for the safety and security of every person. Secondly, stand by the standards-of-society. Our society had certain standards of “right” and “wrong!” These standards have developed through generations of practical application. Finally, turn to a “righteous” God for guidance!
God is the final judge as to what is “right” and what is “wrong.” God has given each of us a conscience that enables us to know what is “right” and what is “wrong;” and God gives us the wisdom and courage to do the “right thing.” Human laws, because they are crafted by human beings, vary from one culture to another and from one part of the country to another. Laws also change from one generation to another. Therefore, laws and the interpretation of those laws are not absolute and do not apply equally to everyone. The same is true of societal standards: they apply differently to different peoples at different times. So, where andwhen it comes to determining what is truly “right” and “wrong,” one cannot trust the law-of-the-land nor the standards of our society. God’s standards of “right” and “wrong,” however, can be trusted! God’s standards are absolute; God’s standards never change. God’s standards are global — they apply to every person in every nation. God wrote the book on “Life!” God established the boundaries for living well. God made the Rules for every creature to abide by. God’s judgments can be trusted because they are eternally correct!
Therefore, if we really desire to “do the right thing,” God will help us to know what’s “right” and will give us the courage to do what’s “right!”