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No, I Don't "Have Your Back"




I had a friend a long time ago who was accused of stealing. I was shown evidence of them having done what they were accused of but was told by a mutual friend that I should defend the accused despite knowing they had committed the crime. I was told I should "have their back." I responded, "I do not have anyone's back if they've done what they are accused of." I believe this idea of having someone's back is at the root of many problems in many of our communities today.


I am an honest person. I try my best to do what's right. If I intentionally or unintentionally do something wrong or illegal, I would not ask a friend or loved one to defend me and violate their conscience, truthfulness, and honor so that I evade the punishment or consequence associated with the wrongdoing. This is not the world that many exist in. A large segment of our population believes that they should be able to do whatever they want whenever they want and that there should be no consequence. If consequences do present themselves in their lives, those around them who care for them should lie to keep them from suffering the consequences or effects they deserve. This is what it means when many people speak about having someone's back. This is not love. This is not true friendship. This is a distortion.


To love someone is to will their good according to the teaching of the Godly Catholic Church. Good comes from suffering the consequences of our choices. Of receiving our just rewards, whether they be appealing or unappealing. When we receive our just rewards, our behavior changes. If I steal and I go to jail or receive a fine, I am less likely to do it again in the future. If I run a red light and get a hefty fine will be less likely to run that red light in the future. But if I break the law and I'm never held responsible for it, it is likely I will continue to break the law and break other laws I would not have broken had I been rightly punished. 


I have a very good friend who broke the law and was arrested. His parents were informed that he was in jail, and their response was not to bail him out but to leave him there. He stayed in jail until his court date and then received more time in jail. To many, this seems harsh. And it is harsh. But as a result of this harsh love that friend went on to become a very successful businessperson, never went back to jail, and has a beautiful family. His family, for the most part, are also law-abiding citizens. Had his parents bailed him out of jail, as the parents of many repeat criminals do, he likely would've committed more crimes, and who knows where he would've ended up. This is love. This is what it means to have the back of those we love.


To have someone's back is to want what's best for them and to see that whatever is necessary to give them what is best for them happens. If that means they are doing the right thing and are being accused unjustly, then the way you have their back is to defend them. But if they are being rightly accused of something and there is a consequence they must suffer, then to have their back and love them means to allow them to suffer as they should so that they may grow and suffer less in the future. 


This is love. This is how I will always have the backs of those I love. If this is not enough, then we probably shouldn't be friends. I will not lie for someone to keep them from receiving what they should because of their choices to help them be better.


Written 2/9/21 AD

Human-written, AI spell-checked

Image from NYtimes.com

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