Dieu et mon droit is the ancient dictum emblazened on the heradry of the British Monarchy. God and my right hand (shall defend me). Its a call to arms whose surety lies in divine right. On standards and shields, it heralds a message to your adversary that you fight in good conscience with right on your side. It’s legitimacy in action.
Being on the right side of things is important – it wins battles. The history of conflict tells many times over how men animated by a just cause have fought against the odds and won. Holy outrage at injustice is the elixar that puts a spring in your step and steel in your eye. It puts me in mind of the third crusade, where Richard Coeur de Lion (the Lion heart) was so zealous to free the Holy Land from the grip of the Saracens that even before reaching the shore, he leaped from the landing craft in full body armour, sword in hand. I like that. I want to be that guy.
A clean conscience is always the best way to proceed. It unclutters your mind and it helps you sleep at night. Such conviction is frowned on these days. Society would have you bow to crippling notions of historic guilt that undermine and sap your cause d’être. Sitting circumspect does nothing to defeat evil, which has a way of creeping before it pounces. It is good to be battle-ready with a clear mind and a clean conscience because you are going to need it.
Live long enough, and you will run into those who operate in bad faith. It will confuse you. You will second-guess yourself, wondering exactly how to proceed because bad faith looks you in the eye and lies with the intent to deceive. It seems that the world has become a bit of a darker place in the space of my own lifetime. The public weal has been weakened by lack of a central operating principle. The strength of western society has always been the the dominant assumptions of Christianity, that truth will triumph, that every soul has value before God. If you don’t think those are important ideas, visit a third-world country and you can see what happens to the thread of a society that thinks differently.
Bad faith has also wormed its way into the workforce. What used to be a handshake and a sense of honour, has been replaced by a non-disclosure agreement, and the idea of “onboarding” and “offboarding”. You will be plucked or discarded at the liesure of some not-very-nice people. They will look you over and assess whether they can feed you a line and take you for a ride. Your valued contribution will be carved up as spoils of war at the same time they dump your remains on the curb like an apple that has just been eaten.
One place I worked for got a new CEO. She introduced herself with a promise that hers would be a different mandate. Her core values were truth and authenticity. She would never lie to us she said, just prior to planting her first lie. Those who operate in bad faith can mess with your head if you let them. Don’t let them. Follow your instincts. Let your conscience and your good sense be your guide. This particular lady also was fond of creating events which were meant to manipulate. She brought in a guest speaker who spoke about trust and made us do group exercises where teams built a small tower from toothpicks and tiny marshmallows. The thing in the back of my mind was that I didn’t need her to tell me who to trust. I already knew whose track record was worthy of trust. It’s an earned thing, not a cute idea you take away from a seminar. The thing that stuck with me about our guest lecturer was that she clenched her teeth while speaking. She had (sorry to say) “crazy eyes” and she did not wear a ring. Safe to assume that trust was something she read about in motivational books but didn’t really know about in real life.
Being fed lies is personal. There is no way around it. It is grevious one on one, and it is particularly troubling when you are told lies in a deliberate and organized way by institutions, which are by nature supposed to be impartial. It is no wonder lying is the original sin, which leads to all others. Jesus summed up liars when he said that their father is the Devil.
It would seem that evil prospers. It certainly can for a period of time. it’s good to know that the battle between good and evil has already been fought and won, what we see in the world is merely skirmishes. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. When Jesus said "I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven", he was talking about an eternal battle he took on since the beginning of time. It’s end has already been determined. The book of Revelation tells about those who survive evil. Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” They told the truth, they lived by the truth, and by the truth they conquered.
How to proceed? The Bible tells us, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21) It may take a while. Don’t lose faith. More importantly, never, NEVER give in.