Higher Standards » Informative articles on Christian education » Does It Pay to Do Right Anymore?
Does It Pay to Do Right Anymore?
In a world of Skype, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, everyone can know what you’re doing when you do it. Your life can go viral. Depending on what and when you post, you can become famous, garnering an army of fans and being asked to appear on talk shows or speak, sing, or play at events. You could be the next American icon.
With such exposure, it does pay to do the right thing. If you are discovered. If someone finds out about your heroic—or just nice—deed and blogs about it, tweets it, or in some way documents it for the masses, you could be paid well for “going above and beyond the call of duty.” And I am in no way denigrating those who have been recognized for their good deeds. Many times, they have been highly deserving of recognition.
But let me add to the question: “Does it pay to do the right thing when no one else will ever know about it?” Does it pay to return extra change when the cashier gives you too much? No. If anything, you lose money. Does it pay to tell the truth when there may be dire consequences to doing so—losing your job, for instance? Well, it depends on the circumstances and the boss.
If we were honest with ourselves, most of us would probably agree that we are more likely to do the right thing only if there is something in it for us. I mean, doesn’t life teach us that it is crazy to do otherwise? Scandal after scandal, fraud after fraud, it has actually paid not to do the right thing. That is, until the person gets caught.
Why do so many think this way? Why do Americans tend to look after themselves and do what would benefit the individual? As much as we don’t like to admit it, “good, old-fashioned values” are becoming just that. Old-fashioned.
Well, we’ve thrown out the rule book. In demoting the Bible to the status of “good literature,” in taking the Ten Commandments out of public places, and in relegating the names of God and Jesus Christ to words sworn in frustration, we are creating a generation of new rules. Everything is tolerated—everything, of course, except Christian principles.
The idea of doing right with no promise of immediate or public reward originated with the Bible. Take Joseph, for example: he did right and was punished for it. At least for a while. If the Bible is being thrown out, it is no wonder that the idea of doing right because it is right is too.
So what is the answer?
There is no easy fix for a collective mindset that has devolved over several generations—and that has spiked in its devolution over the last few decades. We must first realize that we are broken before we can begin to fix ourselves. Will the change happen with the millennial generation? As the Bible says, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27). With God, a rich man can be saved from eternal damnation, and a nation can be revived to thirst after the God it once spurned.
With God, we can revive this barren land. But change begins only when we decide to do the right thing, even when no one else will know—even if no one cares and there is no earthly reward.
God cares, and His rewards and punishments are eternal. Even if we choose not to believe in them.