No One Wants You to Do the Right Thing [#EatThisBook – Exodus 5]

by Andrew Forrest

People will tell you that they want you to do the right thing. But, people are lying. People don’t want you to do the right thing if it will cause problems. And doing the right thing?always causes problems.

See, if it were easy to do the right thing, the right thing would already be done. But doing the right thing is difficult.

If there were no opposition to doing the right thing, the right thing would already be done. But there is opposition to doing the right thing. Bitter opposition. Those who do the right thing make enemies.

Your friends and allies will tell you they want you to do the right thing, but when you start doing it, you will cause problems. You will stir up trouble. You will cause controversy. When you start causing problems, your friends and allies will tell you to take it easy, to stop being so radical, that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, that the old system wasn’t perfect, but hey, what is?

Of course your enemies don’t want you to oppose them. Everyone knows that. Your enemies want the freedom to persist in doing the wrong thing without opposition. That’s obvious. But the sad truth about life is that your allies (or those who should be your allies) often do not want you to oppose your enemies either. Your erstwhile allies?will tell you that your doing of the right thing is causing problems for?them. “Can’t you tone it down a bit?” “You are giving us a bad name.” “Things were better before you started making trouble.”

It wasn’t just the Nazis who opposed Bonhoeffer–so did some other members of the Confessing Church, that church whose very reason for existing was to oppose the Nazis, who thought Bonhoeffer was too radical. “Dietrich, tone it down a bit. We agree with you, but you are giving us a bad name. You are causing too much trouble.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

So, Exodus chapter 5. Moses and Aaron are sent by the Lord to free the children of Israel from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, and if you know anything about human nature, you should be able to predict what happens next:

  1. Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh.
  2. Pharaoh doesn’t like being confronted; consequently, he doubles-down on his evil and makes life worse for the Israelites.
  3. The Israelites don’t like worse–who would?–and they complain to Moses and Aaron and blame them for their worsening predicament.
  4. Moses doesn’t like being blamed for doing the right thing, and so he blames God for the whole thing.

No one wants you to do the right thing, at least, not if it will cause trouble. And doing the right thing always causes trouble.

You’ve been warned.


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