When is doing the right thing the wrong action? The answer is rarely black and white. The right things are founded in sound logic, moral and ethical parameters, and justice. There is a foundation that justifies one doing the right thing, regardless. At the same time, at times, the right thing is the wrong action.
In advance, I do not have any simple answers. I do not know of any clichés that fit the question. So far, I have not found a wisdom pearl that leads one to a conclusion. I do know that being silent at times is, and has been across time, an appropriate response.
When an old wisdom father was confronted with false accusations and trumped up charges, responded without going the extra step. Even in the face of difficult circumstances, he maintained this position. “I did this not to accuse them of any wrongdoing or to get our people in trouble with Rome. We’ve had enough trouble through the years that way.” (Acts 28.19)
I have also found that focusing on the positive, as slim as it can be, provides a foundation to build trust. It also opens up the possibility for a dialogue where the rest of the story can emerge. I wish I could be as sensitive to others as Divinity is to me. I know I cannot handle everything immediately. In small quantities, truth is useable. In a full dose, there is a chance of choking.
As I struggled to deliver a tough message, I realized that the full message was not within my remit. I had not earned the trust. I did not have permission. I was not sure that the individual would be able to hear and understand. I did not deceive. I merely focused on the first part of the message. In context of what I knew, it was complete and accurate. The conversation was received with surprising warmth.
As I realize the lessons of time, I find myself growing quiet. I am less sure of my wisdom. I know more while knowing less.