When I was a child I was taught that doing what is right was based on two fundamental points of truth. First, it was the best thing I could do in a given situation. In times of uncertainty, fear, or doubt, the best choice was what was right. Second, doing what was right would bring good results.
As I look back, from childhood through my emerging maturity, the first truth has stood the test of time. In extended periods of difficulty and darkness, in times of wild unknown, reaching for what I knew to be true was always the best choice. Truth was often illusive, but reaching for it was always the best idea.
The challenge as I continue to grow up is the outcome. Doing what is right does not always bring peaceful, wonderful, or even kind outcomes. Old observations continue to play out in my life; “I give out good and get back evil from God-haters who can’t stand a God-lover.” (Psalm 38.20) There is a harsh reality on the outcome of truth-actions. As good and pure as they might be, or a flawed as they naturally are, the outcome depends on the recipient. Giving someone with an evil streak something truthful will not automatically mean that they will change. I know that truth brings healing, but sometimes healing takes time.
A recent point of decision still haunts me. I could see person on the other end of my choice. There was little doubt in their motivation and intent. One could wrap it in any name but evil would always be part of the description. Everything within me demanded that I fight evil with evil. Be the aggressor. Take the first strike. End this now.
My response was not perfect or effective. I tried the letter of truth combined with a sharp edge and a point. The combination made the whole thing stink. I came away with a determined modification to my childhood perceptions. Doing what is right is the best choice. Let God worry about outcomes; we are here to choose.