Friday, September 26, 2008

The Price Is Right

When does the price become too high to do the right thing?

I have had a number of personal challenges in recent months, including the death of my father. Now before y'all send your condolences, he wasn't a particularly good father. He chose to move out-of-state to avoid paying child support. As I grew and developed and became a parent myself, I came to realize the tremendous negative impact of his actions on my life. Quite literally, everyone around me told me to "just let it go - forgive and move on" and other similar sentiments. The Bible, however, clearly instructs us to confront others when we have a grievance against them and work it out. So I did. We exchanged some angry words and, while I felt better for having done the right thing, I realized that he would probably never speak to me again.

I was wrong.

About a year later, he called me and apologized and asked for my forgiveness. I cannot adequately express how much this means to me now that he is dead. The price of doing the right thing in that instance seemed high, but I would do it again 100 times over to have the peace of mind provided by knowing that we had an honest relationship at the end because of it. My siblings do not.

Recently, I have paid a rather high price to do the right thing in another situation. Again, the advice I received (and am still receiving) from well meaning folks is to "let it go and move on", "It's not worth it", and other similar sentiments.

To repeat the question - When does the price become too high to do the right thing?

In my view, if it's my call, never. The right thing to do is the right thing to do, regardless of cost or sacrifice. Indeed, if we will not choose to sacrifice a little when the cause is relatively easy, then why should we be trusted to do the right thing when something more difficult arises?
People are very quick to judge those who have been granted a say in the larger issues of the day, but how many of us are standing up to do the right thing in the small issues in our lives?

If you realize that the waitress or store clerk just gave you too much change, the right thing to do is to return it, either in person or by mail no matter what the amount. If you mistakenly let out your neighbor's livestock, you round them up. If you take something that belongs to someone else by mistake, you return it. If you blame someone for something they didn't do, you apologize. If your friend does any of these things, you do all you can to encourage him/her to do the right thing for themselves. These are simple things, basic things.
The price is never too high to do the right thing.

"When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." ~Ezekiel 33:8-9