Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” ~General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.
“In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.”
~James, the Apostle
In a recent article in the National Post on the topic of the legal status of Jerusalem, John Robson opines that “it’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.” Putting it slightly differently, he said, “But now is usually the right time to do the right thing, especially given what happens if you start hedging.”
His point, which has much broader application than Jerusalem, appears obvious, even simplistic. It is not, however, a rule of life for many people including, in particular, those in leadership positions.
As I reflected on Robson’s remarks, an event I attended many years ago came to mind. Norman Schwarzkopf, one of the most celebrated military leaders of the modern era, was the keynote speaker. In response to a character-related question after his speech, he advised the audience to “always do the right thing.”
Soon after becoming a follower of Jesus in my mid-thirties, I was faced with a moral dilemma. I had recently joined a large company in an executive capacity. As part of a belt-tightening initiative that year, the CEO had issued an edict cancelling all Christmas parties. Notwithstanding, one of my senior staff suggested to me that we throw the Christmas party and charge the expense as “client entertainment.”
Prior to becoming a believer in Jesus, I am not sure what my answer would have been. Doubtless, I would have known that the right thing was to decline but I’m not certain I would have done so. As a new follower of Jesus, however, I said “no.”
Shortly thereafter, I found myself in the office of the senior executive to whom my boss reported! He queried my refusal to approve the expense. When I told him that I couldn’t in light of my faith, he accepted my answer and did not override my decision. The party went ahead and staff paid. I’m pretty certain my action didn’t win points with my colleagues!
Over the years, I’ve made lots of mistakes. In this case, however, I think I did the right thing and would do it again regardless of the consequences. As Robson says, “it’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.”
While we may all know the right thing to do in most circumstances, Schwarzkopf is correct when he says, “The hard part is doing it.” By trusting Jesus with our lives, we tap into His strength to do the right thing.
Are you facing a moral dilemma? Ask Jesus for help!
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.