Many years ago, as an undergraduate student, I did a course in Ethics. This course outlined the principles and legal implications governing the way we act and respond to circumstances and situations. It serves somewhat like a moral compass to regulate behavior. A sub category of Ethics, is a concept known as Situational Ethics, which implies that right or wrong is determined by the situation.
We have all been in situations when we did not tell the truth. This method may have been followed because we thought our backs were against the wall, or we feared the consequences of our actions. Whether small or large, misrepresenting the truth is not cool. It may work for the moment; but for those of us with a conscience, there is never a happy feeling after such action.
Truth can sometimes get lost in interpretation. Several years ago, in the United States Armed Forces, there was a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, that governed the idea of homosexuals serving in the military. It was believed, if no one was questioned, no one had to admit to such a lifestyle and all would be well.
This policy backfired and was reversed some years later. In college, we used to warn each other, never to volunteer more information than was needed. Good, bad or indifferent, this concept worked, as many of us were able to slide through conditions, based on the situation of the circumstance. While this may have had a legitimate cause, at the time, there have been times where deep and malicious crimes were committed, based on ‘the situation’ at the time.
One of the easiest ways to see this concept in action, is to watch people who have great financial means. They sometimes use their monies to purchase silence, pay off witnesses, offer bribes, force people to forget or remember, or even misrepresent the truth.
Money has tremendous power. A sizable reward being offered, can suddenly cause people to remember facts that were unknown before the reward was posted. After all, the situation was right; they needed the money, so they did what had to be done to obtain the same.
The general rule of thumb, is to follow our conscience. Albeit, there are some of us without a conscience, who are able to do wicked things and then go to sleep. For those of us who are bothered when we feel our actions have not been done in the most transparent manner, we feel repentant and find ourselves seeking to correct the actions, if possible, but asking forgiveness of our Heavenly Father. Thus, we are able to feel better about ourselves.
Telling the truth may not always seem easy to do, or the most popular trend, at a particular time, but it is the best way to go.
There may be condemnation, ridicule, cruelty and alienation associated with speaking truth, but there is a peace of mind that is associated with doing the right thing. Even the thought of what is right can become convoluted at times, but a question that I have learned to ask myself is, “What is the righteous thing to do?” The answer to this question is always the best one. Dr. Pam
POINT TO PONDER: Truth may pain me for the moment, but I am free for a lifetime.
• Askdoctorpam is a column that appears in this journal every week. Your letters and comments are encouraged. You may email your letters or comments to askdoctorpam, or write to Askdoctorpam P.O. Box F43736. Dr. Pam is a Clinical Psychologist trained in all areas of mental health.
Published Tuesday, March 28, 2017