The right thing to do is the right thing to do, every time.

One of my personal mottos is: “The right thing to do is the right thing to do, every time.” In the case of faulty accounting practices, or sketchy business ethics, I think that motto applies. TIME Magazine crowned “The Whistleblowers,” Sherron Watkins of Enron, Colleen Rowley of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom, their 2002 Persons of the Year. Lacayo and Ripley (2002) noted, “As whistle-blowers, these three became fail-safe systems that didn’t fail. For believing—really believing—that the truth is one thing that must not be moved off the books, and for stepping in to make sure that it wasn’t, they have been chosen by TIME as its Persons of the Year for 2002 (p. 2).

Truth: Truth is what all things good and godly have in common. Satan abides not in truth because there is no truth in him. He is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). Conversely, God is the God of truth (Deut 32:4), and his truth endureth forever (Psalm 117:2). Jesus proclaimed himself the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and the author of Hebrews declared Christ to be “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:8).

As Christians, if we are in the position where we have found out a hidden truth and we fail to share that truth, we are the one responsible for the repercussions, at least to God. Here is an applicable illustration from Ezekiel 33:

Once again a message came to me from the LORD: “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths’ (Ezekiel 33:1-6).

If I were to find out my boss was employing purposefully unethical accounting or business practices, I would attempt to keep it within the business authority, as did Watkins, Rowley, and Cooper. When that failed for them, they had to blow the whistle. As a caregiver for a small business, I would likely have no legal protection against retaliation or loss of my job; however, I would have the spirit of truth on my side, which is more trustworthy than the laws legislated by mere men.

“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).

References:

Authorized King James Version. (1945). Holy Bible. (D. Rev. C.I. Scofield, Ed.) New York: Oxford.

Lacayo, R., & Ripley, A. (2002, December 30). Persons of the Year 2002: The Whistleblowers. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from TIME Magazine: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1003998,00.html

3 Comments

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  1. Tressie LeBlanc says:

    Ezekiel 33:1-6 is a great illustration. I think these words are applicable to us today. As Christians, we are given the position of watchman, Americans have been so blessed and we have wondered away as a country. As such we will be held responsible for not sounding the alarm. Thanks for sharing this verse.

  2. Roche TerBlanche says:

    I really like your personal motto, and I agree that “the right thing to do is the right thing to do, every time.” Reminds me that a sin is a sin – no matter how a person may try to ‘spin’ it! However, I am deeply concerned about the treatment of whistleblowers in today’s society. While Time magazine has recognized these three prominent whistleblowers, most organizations are still conflicted about whistleblowers. I’m not really surprised because common synonyms for “whistleblower” include betrayer, informant, snitch, tattletail; and related words such as collaborator, gossiper, and spy. Most people will agree that this term has very negative connotations, and I believe that this view is pervasive in federal and U.S. corporations. That being said, the premise behind whistleblowing is that this righteous and courageous action is intended to fix a problem, right a wrong, change a destructive behavior, adopt a safety standard, ensure legal compliance with the law, etc. However, instead of being commended for their actions, whistleblowers are often ostracized, isolated, shunned, ignored or even punished. As quoted by Senator Charles Grassley in the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) report, these people “stick their necks out to speak the truth.” Too bad, we cannot protect them!

  3. Sherri says:

    Proverbs 4:18-19
    Contemporary English Version (CEV)
    18 The lifestyle of good people
    is like sunlight at dawn
    that keeps getting brighter
    until broad daylight.
    19 The lifestyle of the wicked
    is like total darkness,
    and they will never know
    what makes them stumble.
    Proverbs 4 is applicable to the wicked or even the idle as referenced in Ezekiel 33 “They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives”.
    I agree with the author’s personal motto: “The right thing to do is the right thing to do, every time” and I respect the author’s position as a caregiver for a small business because I believe I am in a similar role.

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