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There Is No Right Way To Do A Wrong Thing
I’m sure you’ve heard of the old adage, “There is no right way to do a wrong thing.” Well, in this lesson I’d like for us to think about this saying and its implications for living life.
An ancient Roman philosopher named Seneca is the one who is believed to have coined this phrase. He was born four years before Christ in Spain and died in Rome at the age of 65. He was Rome’s leading intellectual figure in the mid-1st century and was virtual ruler with his friends of the Roman world between 54 and 62, during the first phase of the emperor Nero’s reign.
In 41 the emperor Claudius banished Seneca to Corsica on a charge of adultery with the princess Julia Livilla, the emperor’s niece. Perhaps, the phrase we’re considering in this lesson had something to do with his adulterous affair. But, he continued to build a name for himself and eventually became a speech writer for the great Nero. He became a prolific writer and penned many famous opinions, including 124 letters regarding issues of morality. There is a belief that he knew the apostle Paul.
The connection of Seneca and Paul reminds me of something Paul said in Romans 7:15. “I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”
Knowing that the great apostle had these struggles makes it easier to admit we have the same problem. Sometimes we get caught up into doing things we know are wrong, which means we look for ways to justify doing things we know are wrong. But the truth is, “There is no right way to do a wrong thing.”
Later, in I Corinthians Corinthians 10:13, Paul said,
 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
What does it mean to do a wrong thing? A wrong thing is a decision or action which is clearly incorrect, inappropriate and sinful. Romans 6:22-23 sort of puts things into their proper perspective.
 But now you (Christians) are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.
 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul makes it clear that as Christians we’re expected to do those things which lead to holiness, therefore we must not get caught up in the trap of trying to justify doing wrong things. There simply is no right way to do wrong things.
This begs the question, “Why does it feel so good to do wrong things?” I found this quote which offers some insight into the question. It says, “The reason bad behavior can feel satisfying before the guilt kicks in, is brain chemistry. When we take a risk, we flood our nervous systems with the hormone adrenaline, otherwise known as the 'fight or flight' response. This hormonal response can be addictive.
For me, the key word in this answer is the word “addictive” which relates to so many different types of wrong behavior. There are a number of support groups which are designed to help people overcome addictions to destructive behavior. People meet in small groups trying to overcome alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual additions, shoplifting addiction, pornography addictions, addictions to violent behavior and the list goes on and on.
One thing all these support groups have in common is they all try to get offenders to come to grips with inappropriate and sinful behavior. Most addicts get caught up in the tendency to justify bad behavior, but there simply is no right way to justify doing a wrong thing.
Most all of these support groups also assist members in trying to make things right when we hurt someone. We refer to this as “righting a wrong.” We define this process as “to correct something bad or wrong that someone has done.” Most of the time people try to justify their bad behavior and explain why they did what they did, but the real hard truth is, “There is no right way to do a wrong thing.” If our actions are contrary to God’s Word, they are wrong, every single time!
So, what should we do when we realize we have tried to make a wrong thing right. What should we say to the ones we have wronged? In my lesson tonight, I would like to share with you some helpful hints about how to right a wrong. If you want to remove your guilty feelings, there are some things you can do and we’ll talk about them in tonight’s lesson.
Let’s look at the life of King David as an example. King David had multiple wives, according to the Bible, although only eight of them are named. Of the eight, five are mentioned only once. The other three wives figure prominently in the story of King David. In addition, he had many concubines, some believe more than 100. His son, Solomon, had over 1,000 wives and concubines.
Knowing that David was considered a man after God’s own heart, it’s hard for us to understand why David targeted another man’s wife. David knew this was wrong, but he somehow must have justified his actions to his own satisfaction. And that’s how many people reason that there are right ways to do wrong things. We try to satisfy ourselves instead of satisfying God.
The sad story of David’s wife Bathsheba is well-known (2 Samuel 11:1–17). She was originally the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a trusted soldier in David’s army. While Uriah was away at war, David saw Bathsheba bathing in her courtyard one night; she was beautiful, and David lusted after her.
Even knowing she was another man’s wife, David summoned her to his palace and slept with her. When she found that she was pregnant, she informed David, and the king, rather than repent, added to his sin. David ordered that Uriah be placed on the front lines of the battlefield where he was abandoned by his fellow soldiers and killed by the enemy.
Then David married Bathsheba, but their child died shortly after birth. David chronicled his sin and repentance over these sinful acts in Psalm 51. Here is what David said after he was confronted by Nathan, the prophet.
 Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
The story of David and Bathsheba is well documented and known to people everywhere, even people outside the Christian faith. It’s also clear that God wanted this story to be told in His Holy scriptures. He wanted people to understand there is no right way to do a wrong thing. Without a doubt, this is the most famous story of adultery known to mankind. The child which was conceived from this sinful relationship died, which reminds us that often times innocent people suffer because someone is trying to make a wrong thing right.
Suppose a criminal escapes from prison and he hurts a person with a weapon; then the first thing that will come to that person’s mind is to beat or kill him, which is right according to the person, but it is legally and morally wrong. In our country today, there are many people who try to justify immoral behavior. It’s because many in our nation no longer consider the Bible to be our standard of behavior. Many of the new laws which are being created by our lawmakers are contrary to God’s laws and will lead to much heartache and grief, as well as lost souls.
Now, let me end this sermon with this conclusion: “Right is right even if no one is doing it; but wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. So “THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO DO WRONG THING” .
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How To Right A Wrong
In the previous lesson, I explained there is no right way to do a wrong thing. Nevertheless, we know all of us from time to time will hurt someone, maybe even someone we love and adore. When this happens, it’s important to take swift action to right the wrong before things fester and relationships become even more strained.
In this lesson, I want to share with you some suggestions as to how fractured relationships can be repaired before things get so bad that it’s difficult, maybe even impossible to fix things. If you have wronged someone and disappointed God may I suggest you try some of these things.
FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO
1. Before you can get right with your fellow man, it’s crucial that you get right with God first. If you’re struggling with a bad relationship with Jesus, you’re not likely to be successful in mending broken relationships with family, friends, neighbors and fellow Christians.
In the sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:12 Jesus is telling us how to pray, and one of the things he suggests is asking God to forgive us of our sins. So, our first step in righting wrongs should be to get down on our knees and ask God to forgive us, then we proceed to repairing relationships.
Interestingly, Jesus reminded us that our sins will be forgiven by God in the same manner that we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. Jesus makes it pretty clear that God will not forgive us until we have forgiven those who have wronged us.
2. The next step in righting a wrong is the offering of a sincere apology to the one you have wronged. I know, it’s not easy to offer apologizes. We tend to believe others will think less of us when we apologize, but the truth is people’s opinion of us will dramatically improve when we confront them with an apology instead of more bickering back and forth.
If you’re going to offer an apology, make it a good, heartfelt apology; otherwise a poorly framed apology has the potential to make things even worse. Here’s an example of what not to say, “I’m sorry about what happened, but it really wasn’t my fault.”
That’s no apology at all, not really, because you’re failing to own up to your mistake. If it wasn’t your fault, then there’s no need for you to be apologizing. Here’s another example of what not to say, “I’m sorry, but you really shouldn’t be so sensitive. I had no idea I was hurting your feelings.”
Do you see what’s wrong with that apology? You’re placing the blame on the person you have wronged instead of owning you own insensitive words. If you’re not willing to admit how you messed up, it’s better to just shut up because you’re only going to make things worse.
It’s easier to apologize to someone you love, a friend, a family member, a fellow Christian, etc., but what happens when you wrong someone you don’t know very well. How do you handle this difficult situation? Believe it or not, Jesus actually talked about this very situation.
 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.
 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.
 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
The Lord raised the bar for us concerning interpersonal relationships. He expects us to treat everyone the same, with the love of Jesus in our hearts. Admitting that you’ve been wrong is not easy, but it has a cleansing effect and removes our guilt feelings about what we have done.
3. Take responsibility for what you have done. If we’re unwilling to admit how we messed up, then we’re wasting our time trying to apologize because our words will seem hollow and insincere. Oh, and never start your apology by saying, “I’m sorry, BUT… If you have to tack on a but to your apology, then it severely weakens your attempt to fix things, and it suggests that you’re not really sorry.
Acknowledging your mistake goes a long way toward showing someone you’re feeling remorse about what you did or said. Now is the time to feel empathy for the one you have hurt. Let them know you’re sorry for the hurt you caused. But, this is not the time to be long-winded. A carefully considered brief apology is all that’s needed. We need to learn to stop when we’re ahead, instead of muttering on until the moment is spoiled by useless babbling.
In (2 Corinthians 1:12) the apostle Paul tells fellow Christians how important it is to be sincere, not fake, when dealing with other people. He said,
 We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God's grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.
What was true in Paul’s day is still true today. People don’t like to feel manipulated by flowery words, but rather they want to know you really mean what you say to them. If they don’t surmise you to be genuine, they’ll never learn to trust you.
4. To the extent that it is possible, make amends and or restitution. If you did more than hurt someone’s feelings, you should as quickly as possible restore someone’s losses. They should not have to pay for your carelessness.
For example, if you somehow damaged someone’s automobile, you should offer to pay for the repairs. If you caused someone bodily injury, you should be willing to pay for medical expenses. If you borrow something and it is damaged, then you should be willing to repair or replace it. I guess that’s where the old adage came from, “Never a borrower or a lender be.” But, the point I am trying to make is that we should be willing to restore someone’s losses which we caused, regardless of whether it was accidental or intentional.
But, we must also recognize that it is not always possible to make amends. If a woman’s best friend has an affair with their husband, you can’t just drop off a broken heart at the repair shop like you would a stereo or a toaster. Delicate situations often require time and special concern, but even then, some things leave everlasting scars on relationships.
It almost sounds trite to recite the golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” but this simple rule holds the key to lasting love and relationships. It’s simple really, don’t do something to someone else that you wouldn’t want them to do to you.
5. You should ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is an incredibly important part of moving on. When you ask someone to forgive you, you’re admitting you harmed them in some way. You’re taking ownership of your mistake, and sometimes that’s all someone really wants from you.
Occasionally, someone has been hurt so badly they find it difficult to forgive. It might be years or perhaps never for someone to say, “I forgive you.” Of course, it goes without saying that the bigness of the offense determines the difficulty of extending forgiveness to someone. Some things are just hard to forgive.
And by the way, it’s really important that we learn to forgive ourselves when we have wronged someone. We must be aware of whether or not we can make full amends or restitution, and we must learn to live with ourselves when we come to realize we can’t fix a problem. For example, one of my adopted sisters lost a child who was neglected by a babysitter. I’m sure she felt remorse for failing to kept the baby safe, but not even a million tears could bring my sister’s son back to life. No doubt, all of us can think of things we wish we could change, but in order to move on we must decide which things we can change and which things we must learn to live with.
In I Chronicles 21, we are told that God was displeased with King David about a census he had ordered. It caused unnecessary problems in the Kingdom. When David realized he had make a mistake, he said to God in verse 8, "I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.”
There are times when we must be like David. Even though he greatly loved God, he made some pretty big mistakes, but he was always willing to admit his mistakes and seek forgiveness. We should do the same.