When Hurting Someone is Right

A good friend said to me recently, “Just because you caused someone hurt doesn't mean you did something wrong.”

Of course, we know it’s true. When the abused finally decides to end the relationship, the abuser might be hurt. When a parent disciplines a child—the time-out or loss of privileges can be painful. When a doctor sets a child’s broken bone, extreme pain is immediately felt. When I made the decision to walk away from my job after twenty years—it was right, but it was also painful for some of my closest friends.

Sometimes we hesitate too long to make the right decision because we don’t want to hurt the other person—when it is actually our delayed action that is hurting them more.

We keep someone on staff longer than we should when it isn’t a right fit for him or her. We put off an intervention with a friend who is abusing alcohol or drugs, and they don’t get the help they need to thrive. Or we keep a secret hidden that is destroying us inside, because we know that telling others and getting help will at the same time hurt or disappoint those who are closest to us.

Is there a decision or conversation you’ve been putting off? Have you considered that your delay might actually increase the pain for others? Today might just be the right day to act.

Tim StevensComment