Where exactly do we stand up for truth? Is there a line to be drawn or is it absolute? Are there caveats? Exceptions? Do we simply tell people to stop doing things they shouldn’t do? Do we advise them? Suggest things to them? In anger and frustration? In gentleness? Is setting an example enough? Does it do anything? Do we tell our bosses or coworkers?
At what point do we disobey authority because of our conviction of right and wrong? Not necessarily life and death, but even simple things that have to do with treating others as you want to be treated.
At what point is simply doing what you know to be best, while essentially tolerating everyone else doing whatever, become a wrong thing? Is apathy towards standing up for the right thing, as bad as doing wrong yourself? When do we try to change things for the better? Are a person’s solo attempts at making things better in a system which is completely broken irrelevant?
Here are some case study examples:
You work at an accounting firm and you are told by your boss to skew the numbers in order to make your company look better. In most cases, you would refuse because you know it is wrong, yet it is your job and source of income and provision and so you are reluctant as to how to respond.
Most people would verbally respond to this case study with the confirmation to refuse because it is morally wrong. Big problem, big dilemma, therefore probable solution.
Another case study:
You work at America’s Greatest History Attraction, also known as The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. Your job is in the grounds department, cutting grass and dealing with trash and overall cleanliness. You literally cut grass and change trash can liners. No visitor ever notices the work you have done, making your job seemingly nonexistent. Your boss has you help a contractor out who is preparing to grind a huge tree stump and he needs you to cover up the cars that are parked surrounding the work site. The contractor has you bring over huge plywood sheets and start leaning them without any buffer or padding, directly on cars. You feel uncomfortable because if it was your car you know you would freak out if someone was doing the same thing. You speak up and say you won’t lay any more on the cars themselves but you would find an alternate solution. Yet, the contractor says that your boss gave it the OK and therefore that it is fine. What do you do?
You and the contractor already laid a few on the cars, but you go and find an alternate solution and go ahead and cover the remaining cars differently.
What you desire to do is to confront the contractor and tell him what he is doing is not OK and should be redone correctly. But… your boss gave him the OK, regardless of if it is right or wrong.
A third case study:
People at work are always joking around with each other, but many of them are immature and full of drama. When people get mad, frustrated, or hurt, they gossip and cause dissension in the company. Also, many of these individuals do things on the job that in normal jobs would get you fired instantly such as petty theft, yet no one confronts anyone directly or through leadership. The work environment is being significantly diminished and destroyed because of the combination of all these things, yet while you do not join in on these activities, you do not stand in opposition to them. Over the course of 5 years or so, your good example does not seem to have influenced anyone or anything and things continue to be unhealthy and even get worse.
Do you go to leadership about these things and be the rat of the department? Do you confront the people individually, even when you know they will, of sorts, excommunicate you? What if you do bring things to leadership and they don’t seem to do anything/care about it? You are told that it wasn’t your place to confront anyone because you don’t have any authority over them, and they file a grievance against you?
Is any of this making sense?
So often, these cases or the ideas of them that we envision are clear cut because they are based around moral discrepancies. In reality, these cases are much more complex.
These stories may or may not be true stories but the dilemmas of how we are to act or not act, remain. Where do we as Christians resist and stand up in opposition to evil and corruption in our everyday situations? Should our commitment to doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord be absolute in every circumstance and situation?
How practically does this look? Because from my current perspective I am finding this solution to be very difficult and flustering and I am positive I am not alone in these feelings.
I know I am asking a lot of questions and not saying a whole lot, but writing these thoughts out helps me profoundly and I post it in hopes that others, you, might have advice or wisdom on this conundrum.