by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 7 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Blue Denim and Lace)

When I was a high school lad, a dear Sunday School teacher named Dr. Rutherford gave me a New Testament. On the inside of it he wrote, "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." (Proverbs 1:10) This became my motto for life.

Billy Sunday used to say, "Do right. Do right if the stars fall, but do right." Such was the case with Daniel. Let us notice several things about Daniel's doing right when he refused to eat the King's meat or drink the King's wine.

1. It is always right to do right. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego would not bow down to wrong. Later Daniel was put in the lion's den, but this decision was made a long time before at the dining room table when he decided that he would always do right. It became a part of his character. It is always a good idea for people just to say, "I will always do right." Let principles make decisions. A person should decide early in life the principles by which he plans to live. These principles can become an IBM machine letting every decision fall where it will according to one's principles. As I look back on my life, I can see several principles that I set as a child and as a young person that have guided me in the making of decisions for a lifetime.

2. It is always right to do right away from home. Someone has said that the "real you" comes out away from home. What do you do when away at college? What do you do in the army when temptations come? The real test will come when there is a temptation to do wrong and Mother does not know, Father does not know, Pastor does not know, and friends do not know. Let it always be said that we do right away from home. Many people go places during vacation to which they would never go at home. Many people gamble at Las Vegas who would never gamble anywhere else. How sad.

3. It is always right to do right regardless of the results. Always make the decision apart from the results. If right turns out wrong, it is still right to do right. Right needs no vindication. Right is its own reward. Do not even consider the results when deciding whether to do right or wrong.

4. It is not right to do wrong in order to do right. There is a popular untruth going around: "As long as you have a chance to do good, anything goes." This is not true! Right should rise and fall on its own self, not upon the opportunities it presents. The doing of right is an opportunity. The doing of right is its own result, gives its own reward, presents its own satisfaction, and should be done even if it causes one to lose his job, lose his popularity, lose his friends, or lose his all. Right will always turn out right in the end.

Do you remember what happened to Daniel? He was promoted to the top. Nero did wrong and Paul did right. Now people name their boys "Paul" and their dogs "Nero." Stephen did right and died, but he looked up and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. John did right and was exiled on the Isle of Patmos, but it turned out right because he saw the great Revelation. The Hebrew children did right, and it looked bad for awhile until the fourth Person came into the fiery furnace and Jesus walked with them.

There is absolutely no thrill comparable to the thrill of doing what is right. Do right if it is unpopular. Do right if it looks bad. Do right if it turns out wrong. Do right when opportunity is lost. Do right if nobody thinks you ought to do right. Do right if nobody else does right. Preachers, do right. Businessmen, do right. College students, do right. Children, do right. Teen-agers, do right. Let everyone that has breath, do right!

Of course, it is not always easy to say "NO"! to wrong, but we must remember that it is always wrong to do wrong and always right to do right. Looking back over my youth I recall three vital times in my life when, thank God, I said "NO!"

"No" to Drink One night I was with the wrong crowd, I was a senior, I thought I was popular, but I wasn't really. I found out later what it was. I was just the boy that hadn't been with the girls yet, and I was in the wrong crowd. I had never been out past eleven o'clock except to sit and think across the street from our little apartment.

Six of us in a car stopped in front of the Texas Theatre at one o'clock in the morning. The driver got out a bottle of whiskey or wine, took a drink, and passed it to the second person, etc. Each of them took a drink. I was behind the driver so it got to me last. Yes, they passed it to me! That was the test. What would I do with it?

(Now right there, young friend, when that decision comes, the road you take will largely determine what you really are and what you will do in life.)

I didn't want to be a stick in the mud. After all, suddenly I was in the gang. I had never been in the gang before. The girls were taking a second look at me, and all of a sudden (I didn't know why) they wanted to go with me. I didn't want to lose the popularity that I had gained. I reached out and accepted the bottle of wine. I put it an inch from my lips. An arrow stuck through my heart and I threw the bottle to the floor! It spilled on everyone in the car. I shouted at the top of my voice, "TAKE ME HOME!" I was within one inch of an awful night.

They said, "What? Take you home? Why?"

Never mind why, I am not going to drink it. I promised God that I wouldn't and I won't."

They said, "Oh, you want to go home and knit, do you?"

I said, "Okay I will go home and knit, but take me home."

"Little Sissy wants to go home and embroider and crochet."

I said, "Okay, I will go home and embroider and crochet, but take me home!"

They took me to 2632 Idaho and let me out, laughing at me. By that time it was one- thirty. I walked up the sidewalk, ashamed to walk in. We lived in a little apartment with two big trees out in front. The screen door was shut and locked, and the main door was open. We had a wood stove in the front room. We had a linoleum floor with very simple, poor furnishings.

My mother was kneeling beside the stove. I stopped and listened to her while she prayed. This was her prayer: "Dear God, I have tried to rear Jack to be a good boy. I have had to be a mother and a father to him. I don't know where he is tonight. He has never been out this late. Dear God, keep him clean. Keep him pure. Help him to remember what I have taught him."

I said, "Mama."

She jumped up, ran to the door, and embraced me.

I said, "Hi, Mama."

Mama said, "Son, you didn't do anything wrong, did you?"

I said, "No." Then I told her that shortly before the bottle was just an inch from my lips. (By the way, thanks be to God, a bottle has never touched these lips, nor has there ever been a cigarette in these lips.)

My mother said, "Son, what time was it?"

I repeated, "Mother, it was one o'clock."

She said, "It was one o'clock when I knelt beside the stove to pray."

Mothers, you can't beat the old-fashioned way of rearing kids by saying, "No-No-No-No! Bad-Bad-Bad-Bad!" Then after you have done all you can, stay on your knees and ask God to help them do right. You can't beat that!

"No" to a Movie My senior year in high school was a year of decisions. I had a pal who had been my best buddy for quite some time. He and I were together all of the time. We took every course in high school together but one. In 39 classes out of forty he sat right beside me. We were about the same size, and maybe we even looked a little alike.

When graduation time came, my pal and I planned a double date. The four of us attended the baccalaureate on Sunday morning. It was held in a church building. (This was back in the days when we had some religion and decency in America.) After the baccalaureate service we went out to eat and then attended an Open House being held in honor of two of our classmates. However, after we left the Open House there was nothing to do.

My pal said, "What are we going to do tonight?"

I said, "What church shall we go to?'

He said, "Church?"

I said, "Yea."

He said, "Not church! This is Senior Day."

I said, "It is also Sunday."

He said, "Now look, Jack, we have been to church all of our lives. I go to church as much as you do, but this is not the day to go to church." He continued, "let's go to a night club. Let's not drink, but let's just go to a night club."

I said, "GOOD NIGHT, NO!"

He said, At least let's go to a movie." I said, "No, I am not going to go."

My date looked at me and said, "Boy, what did I draw?"

I said, "I guess you drew a dud."

My pal said, "Okay, we will just take Jack home." They took me home. I called my date's mother and told her that I was no longer responsible for her daughter, and I told her where they were going. The three of them went to a movie, and I went to church. (That is one reason why I make a big to-do about young people who do what is right!) My pastor was so proud of me. My mother was so proud. She would look at her friends as I sat beside her and pointing at me,. she would whisper, "He is here."

I felt like I had discovered America. What I didn't know then was that I chose to be a preacher that night. My pal and I had never been apart before. My heart was broken. He went to the movies, and I went to church. I became a preacher. He became a Hollywood actor and producer. I am still in church, and he is still in the movies.

You don't know, young people, what the decisions you make will do to your life. When you say to some boy that is about to put his wicked, vile, sensual paws on you, "Take me home," and you slap him across the face or get a shoe and knock him in the head with it, you never know but what that may be the thing that changes your whole life.

"No" to the Sunday Evening Ball Game Sports have always interested me greatly. I loved to play ball. I played softball on a city team. I was the only teen-ager on the city league team. The other players were grown men and some were even professional players. A firm gave me a job just so I would play ball for them. I was their pitcher, and they did not have another. We advanced to the championship game. This was a tremendous honor.

We always played our games on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday nights, but they announced the state championship game would be played on Sunday night at seven o'clock. I had a battle. I will never forget it. It was the biggest thing in my life. For days I battled. What would I do?

The team said, "Why, you have to play. We do not have any other pitcher."

The coach of our team said, "Jack, I am going to go. What is wrong with it? This happens just once in a lifetime. It is the state championship game!"

So I went out and sat under the tree in our yard all Sunday afternoon. I had not made my decision during the previous week.

Someone said to me, "Jack, it won't hurt you."

To this I replied, "It won't hurt you, but it will hurt me if I play."

I made my decision on my knees under the shade of that tree to go on to church that night. When I got to church, the manager had the entire team dressed in uniform and sitting across the street from the church. They tried to talk me into going with them. I was the only hope they had. They didn't have another pitcher. I had pitched three or four no-hit games. Often I would strike out ten to twenty batters a game. They didn't have another pitcher.

They got out of the car, got around me, and said, "Jack, we just have to have you. If you played short stop, it would be different. If you played left field, or center field, or if you were catcher, it would be different, but we do not have any more pitchers. We will be swamped!"

As I walked into the church, two or three of the players were cursing me. (By the way, they lost the game, 10 to 0.)

My, how I thank God that I had a mighty good mother, a mighty good preacher, and some mighty good Sunday School teachers who cared about me and gave me some principles by which I could live or die!

Years passed. I became a pastor of one church, then another, then another. I was preaching one night at the Junius Heights Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. When I finished, a middle-age man walked up and said, "Jack Hyles, put `er there."

I said, "How do you do, sir."

He said, "Do you know me?"

I said, "No, I don't . I am sorry, but I don't"

He said, "You are a pastor now. My, I heard you preach a while ago, and that was great! I used to play for the professional teams, and I was the second baseman on the team for which you pitched."

I said, "You old rascal!"

He said, "Jack, do you remember the time that we played the championship game?"

I thought, "Oh, oh, here it comes right now."

He said, "I cursed you when you walked into the church building, but as I drove to the game that night, I said to myself, `I wish I had what that kid has.' Jack, I never got away from it. I got what you had in just a few days. I was saved because you didn't pitch that game." Then he said, "I am chairman of the board of deacons at this church."

It always pays to do right!


More Life Changing Sermons by Dr. Jack Hyles:

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 “I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion,
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