It’s easy to do good when there isn’t any pressure. Other times there are consequences for doing the right thing, like when we have to own up to a screw up. That hits us right in the pride.
What’s harder than that is when we have to tell our friends ‘no’. When we have to lovingly confront them with a wrong they’re doing (Matthew 18: 15). This is where our integrity is tested.
Like in a situation where we walk into the crossfire between warring friends, or are pulled into it by one asking for help. How should we act?
“Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.” Proverbs 13:6 NIV
We do what is right, of course. Let’s make it a little more complicated. One friend, Jimmy, is withholding Bruce’s mail. Bruce owes Jimmy money. Jimmy plans to use the mail to get the money owed by Bruce.
Bruce asks Steve to go get his mail. Steve’s a regular do-gooder so he’s happy to help. He walks in clueless and gets the mail he sees when he visits Jimmy.
Jimmy finds out and is angry with Steve. He demands that he bring it back so he can hold it ransom until he’s paid back. Steve knows that the mail doesn’t belong to Jimmy. What should Steve do? Both are his friends and he knows who the mail belongs to.
“If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small. Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.”
For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew.
He will repay all people as their actions deserve.” Proverbs 24: 10-12 NLT
You stay faithful to the truth of what is right. Then you act fairly.
“It is wrong to show favoritism when passing judgment. A judge who says to the wicked, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations.” Proverbs 24: 23-24 NLT
Doing what is right is hard sometimes. It can even cost you a friend. It sucks and it can work out at least two ways.
They’ll continue on in their ways and this will be the wise choice for you:
“Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.” Proverbs 24: 1-2 NLT
Maybe they’ll realize that you were the one friend that kept them accountable. They straighten up their act and work to reconcile the relationship with you. Then this proverb goes into effect:
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17 NLT
Have you ever found yourself pulled into two directions at once? Between the easy choice and the hard choice; what did you choose?