Injustice: fight or grin and bear it?

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Injustice: fight or grin and bear it?

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Food for thought?

How hard should you fight if you are 100% sure that you are innocent?

I had exactly that experience back in my Air Force days in New Zealand. I can still feel the sudden rush of blood to my face at the sheer impossibility of the accusation and the decision that had been made that completely redirected my life.

The details are all in my book Flash of Silver and really have nothing to add to my basic question and therefore would take up unnecessary space. Let me hasten to add, for the record, that I found out exactly what had happened over a decade later -it had been a case of mistaken identity based upon someone who pretended to have my responsibilities in the Air Force.

The big issue is…how hard should I have fought at the time when I knew I was innocent?

The consequence was, by the way, a decision made by my senior officers not to recommend me for a permanent commission. This resulted in my leaving the service after my five years; which in turn resulted in major benefits and opportunities!

But let’s get back to a false accusation set against our certainty of innocence…how hard should one fight?

Within the armed forces there is a mechanism called a ‘redress of wrongs’ where one can seek to have an accusation overturned. I immediately chose to go that route, only to be strongly advised by my next senior officer not to do it, “lest you are forever known as that officer who was falsely accused of…that issue. What may remain would simply be the issue and not the exoneration!”

Frankly, at the time I was so furious at the injustice that I decided that serving with people who behaved in such a manner would be an unacceptable choice of employment.

So, I resigned myself to leave at the earliest opportunity…which I did!

Treena Kerr, Circa 1962  "You quit your job!"

Treena Kerr, Circa 1962  “You quit your job!”

So…what about now?

Had I pressed my case I know the truth would have come to light, and apologies made and accepted, and I would have missed everything that began to happen from that time on.

My next question then is, does losing a job because of a false charge mean you need to fight it…or could it be to your benefit to simply ‘grin and bear it’ and move on to the next opportunity that, may, like mine, lead to much better things?

The need to defend oneself is a strong one, especially when you know that your position is the right one. It can however often lead to devastating conclusions and actions.

Sometimes ‘graceful’ acceptance can be seen as both wise and commendable and can eventually lead to a truthful understanding?

Has this happened to you? Have you been able to put it behind you? In hindsight –did it all work out?

This week I read Treena’s poem Morning Glory

 

 

 

 

11 Comments

  1. Pingback: Insecurity…a sign of the times? | Graham Kerr

  2. Graham Says: 8:50 am

    I love the way we are sharing in this ‘river of resilience’. Surely the object of reflection about the past is to see more clearly how our present inner attitudes may be shaping our future? I am more aware than ever of my desire to, like the salmon, finish well. That means to shed some of my old habit patterns and find some measure of resilience, a kind of ‘bounce back’ feeling following a challenge. Salmon can only swim hard against ‘white waters’ for about 15 seconds and then they find less turbulent waters and wait for their strength to return. That’s how they make it to the spawning beds and that’s why their species hasn’t yet become extinct. That’s an example to me, as each of you are in your willingness to reflect. Thank you for sharing your stories, I am strengthened.

  3. James Thompson Says: 3:41 pm

    Hi Graham. This a very interesting topic for me. I remember as a young man haveing so much courage but, not a lot of widom. I never took injustice lying down. I would get up on a soapbox and like the ancient Roman orator Cicero himself, plead my case. But, a funny thing happened. I began to see that at times it did more harm than good and once I won my case it seemed that the state of mind most people had was; “Well, if was truly innocent than why would he have been accused in the first place? Something’s not right.” As I grew older I began to realize that if I was was truly loved, understood and respected I wouldn’t have to prove my innocence in the first place. Now at age 50 it seems that unless I’m defending a loved one, 9 out of 10 times it’s just better to simply move on. I believe in Karma and if I was truly ment to be here than being falsely accussed of somthing shouldn’t be happening. Now it seems that somethings are worth it and somethings are not. I always prayed for the gift of discernment. Pick and choose your battles. I’ve always been a fighter Graham but not a rebel without a cause. Life is just too short. Thanks and God bless …

  4. Lynn Severance Says: 12:38 am

    Being a daughter does not qualify as a “job” yet in my life’s journey, it has been in this context that injustice erupted when I was 25 years old, the time of my father’s remarriage after divorcing my mother. It seemed a given that I’d be connected to both my parents, as always, even with the devastation that brought about the change in their relationship. Not so.

    My eyes went as wide as Graham’s were in the blog when he shared of being falsely accused when in the British service. Only I was not standing in front of my father, but reading a letter from him full of lies and accusations that his wife had raged upon his ears of various things I had said and done to her. I was in shock. I wrote back and even “thanked him” for communicating with me for, indeed, he would have to believe I was incapable of such outrageous accusations. Not so.

    His wife systematically proceeded to put my father in a position of dismissing everyone in his life “before her” and he made the choice to do as she asked. The ripples of that choice in my family are wide ranging.

    Graham, you ask, 1. “ How hard should you fight if you are 100% sure that you are innocent?” and 2. “In hindsight –did it all work out?”

    1. I believe lies do need to be addressed with the truth, if at all possible. If they cannot be directly addressed to the one responsible for the false accusations, they do need to be expressed to someone who will help extract them out of “us”. If the truth is to set us free, then truth needs to be expressed. What another does with it is ‘in their court’ and out of ours.

    2. As I did not sever the relationship with my father, I have kept in touch, via birthdays and Christmases and other times with both he and his wife for the past 48 years. In these particular circumstances, it was the best choice for it was a choice to “honor my father” and indirectly his wife. I do not honor their behavior, I honor the “them” I’d hope they could be given a healing touch in their lives. Did I have to work through the hurt and disbelief? You bet I did and it took time, but with God’s grace and help, I have. Has it brought reconciliation? Not directly but I know I have done all humanly possible to keep the door open – the door I never closed.

  5. Faberge Omelette Says: 11:37 pm

    Back at university in 1980, a freshman composition class was required if your major was undeclared, even if you were already perfectly capable of writing. The instructors for such courses were teaching assistants, rather than professors. My class was “taught” by one Mr. Morton, a surfer dude and sometimes teaching assistant. He assigned a term paper with the topic being the student’s choice.

    Desiring to minimize my efforts in such a ridiculous exercise and thinking creatively, I recycled a term paper that I had already written as a high school freshman relating to the then-controversial Equal Rights Amendment from the mid 1970s, properly footnoted and bibliographed, of course. I submitted my paper with a few newly updated paragraphs and a new cover sheet bearing a date in 1980.

    After reviewing all the papers, Surfer Morton asked me to stay after class to speak about my paper. Naturally, I assumed that Surfer Morton would be giving me kudos for a job well done and might even express an interest in my political position taken in the paper. Instead, he glared at me, stated that such a paper could not possibly be written by a college freshman, that he believed my paper had been plagiarized, that he was determined to find the original source of this paper, and that he fully intended to fail me. Of course, at this stage, I could not tell Surfer Morton that I had actually plagiarized myself, my younger self.

    Having been accustomed to a consistently high GPA, I could not let this one go. I was insulted. I glared back, challenged him to find the original source, and quickly appealed to the head of the English Department. A committee of English professors spent several weeks reviewing my case as well as my paper; and the committee came to the conclusion that the paper was my well written original work and changed the grade from an “F” to an “A.”

    Years later, I related this story to my high school freshman English teacher, a Ms. Spiller, who actually did teach me how to write (an excellent teacher, mind you). Ms. Spiller could not stop laughing. Thus, not only was I vindicated, I also provided those around me with a source of amusement. As Agent Mulder used to say, “The truth is out there.”

  6. PJ Clarke Says: 7:45 pm

    He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day. A bit trite and clichéd too be sure, but sometimes in walking away, you rid yourself of the negativity surrounding the situation you find immersed in. By walking away, you remove the stress that comes with the predicament, which then calms your mind and you are able to think clearly, which allows you to seize another opportunity that you might have missed because you were caught up in a battle of futility.

    Is it always best to run? No.But sometimes, what may be seen by some as cowardice, a surrender, is in actuality bravery, for you accept a temporary loss for a greater future gain. That’s why the rearview mirror is so small, and the windshield so large; to be able to see the past in retrospect, while living in the present looking toward the dawn of a new tomorrow.

  7. lana Says: 11:19 am

    Thank you for this thoughtful post, Graham. The injustice that is closest to mind for me is ongoing and a result of a woman wanting to win favor with a colleague. She knew something like 10% of a story’s facts and, despite her demands, I refused to tell her the whole thing because it would have revealed an unpleasant rumor about our colleague. Angry that I refused to share, she took the limited info she had, put it into a distorted context, and shared it with our colleague without first consulting me. She claims that she did this in the name of morality. No, this is a ridiculous defense. The rumor was unpleasant, but years old and I knew our colleague had heard it long ago. I felt the kindest, most loving thing to do was to let it go and say nothing, saving our colleague the embarrassment of letting her know I had heard this ancient rumor. Our flappy-jawed colleague wanted control of the situation, and since I would not tell her the story, she resorted to the only means she had of taking control by sharing her distorted version of the story. The result is that our colleague bought the distorted version and has maintained a silent vendetta for over a year, refusing to speak to me unless she has to. I am convinced that if I experience a medical emergency, and, if I am alone with her, I will get no help. It is a measure of hate beyond imagining. But, hate is simply a public display of fear.
    So, what to do? I take my counsel from Eckhart Tolle who tells the story of a wrongly accused monk, who responded to a false accusation with the words, “You don’t say.” It was years after his reputation had been decimated before the truth became known, but, over the years, the monk maintained his peace and connection to God.
    So, I keep my reminders of peace and God’s best intentions for me close to hand and strive (not always easily) to use my mouth and eyes as exit portals for true love and care in my daily dealings with these unhappy people.
    When all is said and done, I do believe that these damaging stories are fueled by inadequate and inaccurate information, and the odd fact that, for mysterious reasons, these people want to believe the stories; and, thus, resist inquiry into the truth.

  8. Brenda Parks Says: 10:41 am

    A small thing but this week, I was accused of being insensitive to staff because they weren’t managers or supervisors and why had I not delivered their travel expense checks. It was delivered via a cold, rudely worded email. My face flushed with indignation. Oh how, I struggled not to reply angry, hurt, on the offensive. I calmed myself and looked to figuring out the problem that had been presented. Once that was done, it was not me that had failed to deliver the checks, I had never been given them. Now, the new struggle was to present the true problem factually, no superior words, calmly so that it could be straightened out by those responsible. A little thing but how I handle little things shape me for handling the big things. A lesson that would have served me well earlier in life. Now, I must model that behavior sincerely as I join the ranks of soon to retire workers.

  9. karl guggenmos Says: 10:34 am

    Hi Graham,well injustice comes in many forms.Sometimes it’s perceived injustice as well.I have been on the receiving end of it a few times and it really grinds on ones heart.Currently I am paying a price for having being gently forced out of my position and struggling financially.there is nothing to fight because its a no win situation.All I have is to trust God one day at a time

  10. Dr. Max Lange Says: 9:56 am

    In 1981 I had a great job with international responsibilities.
    A colleague using half truths denounced before the
    International body. I had no choice but to resign wich I did
    Under many tears of my wife and me.
    Within four month time I was able to start a new ministry
    Which is now, 35 years later is helping thousands
    Of children becoming self sufficient God knows best.

  11. GeorgeR Says: 9:25 am

    Graham,

    In my humble opinion it never pays to run from an injustice. Particularly if one is innocent. And yet we don’t want to fight. Jesus was falsely accused, he did not fight or run. As a Star Trek fan I remember the Borg saying “Resistance is futile”. We should always resist injustice when we can.

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