INTEGRITY MONTH: DAY 31: “Let every attempt of corrupting you be an unwelcome opportunity to be honest. Don’t waste it. – Corruption as a Challenge”― Lamine Pearlheart
I don’t know about being “corrupted,” actually. When I read this quote, over a month ago, I thought, as I did this morning, that it would be a good segue into writing about when we stand by and when we say something in this world.
For me, a real life moral dilemma is when there is something that I don’t like happening, a person hitting a child in public, someone stealing something, someone hitting an animal, a dog left in a car, all kinds of things that seem wrong to me. When do I stand up and when do I stand down?
In the name of “none of my business,” I can only say that I have been told this more times than I care to admit. However, I am not the kind of person to ignore any of these scenarios. I have learned, however, to enlist the aid of either another person or a professional to intervene. Why? I have been threatened, screamed at, and called horrible names by those who think I am violating their rights by saying or doing something in these situations.
I am sure we all have been in situations where this kind of moral dilemma happens. I call them moral dilemmas because I feel unsure every time. As angry as I might get at these types of bullying and unfair treatment, the people doing these things feel equally justified by doing them. The same holds true for what we see around us in the world today. We can sit quietly knowing that there are people being beaten or imprisoned unfairly, or we can say something. It is a moral dilemma. The only way to know how or when to act is to search your soul for what you believe is right.
And we must always work to seek both sides of the story before we jump to conclusions. It is something I learned in the 1960s when we protested against what we saw as an unfair war, or unfair social prejudice or unfair treatment of women or gays or anyone. We all get to decide what is right for US to do, each of us.
I genuinely believe these kinds of moral dilemmas are what I get to either stay awake with at night or what I sleep soundly with. And that, at the end of my days, I believe this is what I will be given as a review of my life and what kind of human I grew into or out of, as the case may be. For me, integrity means I do or don’t do, according to what my heart says to me.