Lawbreaking Friend vs. Your Ethics

To snitch or not to snitch? That is the update, Shakespeare. Preserving your ethics when friends do break the law.    — BadWitch

P.S. HAPPY VETERAN’S DAY (enjoy this well done and helpful video). Much gratitude to those who served and sacrificed.

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — A friend I love did something illegal I can’t tell you the details of. What do you do if a close lifelong friend does something like this? Do I turn him in? — Shawshanked Heart


Dear Shawshanked Heart,

Ah, ethics. Yo, Shawshanked, we may be without the details, but I think you know exactly what you must do. I think you’re here for permission to do a hard thing. While it is always about increments and degrees of a thing’s severity, truth and sticking to your own ethics and values don’t shift. Speak up and separate his crime from yours of being a silent accessory after the fact. If you are so bothered by the bad behvior(s) of a loved one, I think you owe it to yourself and him to do the right thing…the one in your heart. Not saying it’s easy. They call it “tough love” for a reason. Sometimes truth telling is hardest for the truth sayer to do, when a loved one is involved. You already feel what you know you should do – now give yourself the courage to do that thing that represents your own best self.

Here are two very different yet related questions you might want to review.

Good luck,



Dear Shawshanked Heart,

Wow. This is a very heavy issue and without knowing the severity of the crime, whether someone was hurt by these actions, it is very hard to answer this question. This is firmly somewhere in the middle of some deep gray areas.

If the issue is your conscience AND no one was hurt in the making of this criminal action, then one must wonder whether saying anything is for the defense of your own moral high ground and/or revenge. Did your friend brag or pour a guilty heart in front of you? Was this information shared as a deep bonding moment of deepest secrets? Would you respect yourself if you broke a confidence and broke someone else’s heart by telling what you know? Sometimes the moral high ground is not really very high if you have to betray and hurt others to take it.

On the other hand, if your friend did something in which other people were hurt then it becomes a whole different story. You wonder how many people VanderSloot bragged to who never mentioned a thing to the authorities, despite the fact that a girl is missing and her family continues to mourn and search for her.

In a case such as this, with victims, it may be necessary to move beyond weighing your loyalty to a friend and responsibility to the larger community. If you think there is any chance that this illegal act might happen again, you will need to step forward before anyone else is hurt.

Whatever the specific details, just be sure you are not stepping in to take over someone else’s karmic lessons [link: Whatever the specific details, just be sure you are not stepping in to take over someone else’s karmic lessons — either by telling because he has to pay for minor sins or not telling when others may be put in harms way. I appreciate how and why you wrote to us looking for input, but really, you must judge what is right for your own soul. Will you harbor guilt (a depleting emotions) because you said nothing? Can you live with yourself if this person commits this act again?

Pray over this answer because you will be affecting your friendship and his life. Felons don’t just pop back into society with ease. Jobs are barred. Housing is barred. In the end, just make sure you are doing the right thing in your heart for the right reasons.

Good luck,



Image: Avada Kedavra

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to:

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s