Right, wrong, legal, illegal, now what?

Right and Wrong

Right and wrong.

This seems to be a simple concept, one that we would assume that all people understand, and on the surface, agree upon.

What about when it is not?

I find myself lately discussing this concept with some friends.

Right and wrong.

Black and white.

Legal and illegal.

Ethical and unethical.

Moral and immoral.

In some conversations and situations, we would think these words to be synonyms. We tend to think that what is RIGHT is therefore LEGAL, and what is LEGAL is ETHICAL and MORAL.

It is perfectly legal for a business partner, spouse, or another individual whose name is listed on a joint bank account to drain an account without telling the other person.

Legal, but not ethical.

It is perfectly legal for a boss to place all of his employees on salary to avoid paying overtime, then demand they be on call and clock 50, 60 or more hours per week with no additional compensation.

Legal, but not ethical.

I have one friend, who when asked their opinion on certain situations will say, “It’s legal, so it’s ok.”

I find myself at odds with this theory, both in daily small situations and in larger global ones.

Dumbledore reminds us “there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”

On the biblical side of things, 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

The family who hid Anne Frank broke the law.

They did what was right.

Civil rights protesters in the 1960s broke the law.

They did what was right.

I am very concerned about the concept that “It’s not illegal” can be misconstrued as “It is the right thing to do.”

When I was young, my mother always taught my sister and me to listen to our “gut.” As we grew, it became called intuition.

That feeling when you hear something, meet someone, find yourself in a situation and something just feels “off” with no definitive reason why. Many times when we express it to others, we are assured all is fine, encouraged to ignore that feeling.

Do NOT ignore that feeling.

That feeling, when ignored begins to lessen. The feeling when followed becomes more finely tuned.

That feeling is our brain’s way of determining right and wrong.

Which is so much more important than legal and illegal.

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