Those who know me best understand that I am a pretty laid back, easy-going guy. I believe in trying to create win-win situations, but there are times you just have to cut away the dead wood so a tree can live. On some occasions we have to apply Jesus words, “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10).
After 54 years of life I have learned that no matter how hard you try, no matter what you do, no matter how pure your motives there are some people who just refuse to do right and their actions affect other people. After 30+ years in church related work I have tried to live by a very simple principle – do what is right (not what is politically correct, or keeps peace, or makes the majority happy), do what is right! That is a liberating philosophy because it frees us from testing the winds of change, or trying to decide who will be on our side. It is the kind of decision that allows you to sleep the sleep of the righteous. Here are just a few reason to adopt this philosophy when making difficult decisions (or any decision for that matter).
- When you do what you know is right (not just expedient) you never have to second guess yourself.
- When you do what is right you build trust. Others quickly learn that you are not swayed by public opinion, or popularity, or the exertion of influence from those in positions of power.
- When you do what is right you empower others. Jefferson said, “One man with courage is a majority.” I believe that is true. When you stand firm for what is right, others quickly come to your aid.
- When you do what is right, God is on your side. You may suffer, be criticized, or slandered, but God knows your actions where true and honorable.
I have sat in too many business meetings, elders meetings and board meetings through the years where people makedecisions based on the wrong motives (will members leave? what will donors think? will my friends stand with me?) I realize not all issues are black and white, but at the heart of most decisions there is either “right and wrong” or “good, better, best”. What a world it would be if we choose what is right and what is best.