The Courage To Do What Is Right

“To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.” ~ Confucius

There are times in my life in which I have been a coward–much more than I would like to admit, actually. On many occasions, I knew what was right and necessary, yet failed to do it anyway, especially during my younger years. I remember an instance where I tried to impress someone by saying hurtful things about another boy. I can also recall a couple other times when I was desperate and took something like pen that did not belong to me. And even these things happened when I was young, they still bother me to this day. Of course, I do not mean that I hold them against myself after all these years, and constantly deride my character for the things I have done or failed to do, rather, I simply acknowledge them and use them as lessons to guide me in my present decisions and in similar circumstances.<!–more–> 

Cowardice is never a good thing. And, what makes this type of cowardice the worst, is that it fells our character right down the middle. We hear our conscience speak to us, yet we choose not to follow it. This separates our beings into two distinct and polar opposites, sowing discord in our hearts and leaving us incomplete and confused. Seeing the high road, though difficult it may be, and yet still following the low road, only serves to make us smaller men.

Our lives are full of choices between right and wrong. And regardless of our excuses–selfishness and greed, self-centeredness, lack of time or abilities, not wanting to swallow our pride, holding onto anger, fear of ridicule and humiliation–by not having the courage to do what is right, especially in situations where others are watching and emulating us, we sell ourselves short and let down everyone who is counting on us. If we truly want to make something special of our lives, we need to be prepared to follow the right paths, no matter what the consequences.

Do what is right and not what is expedient.

Questions to consider:

How do we distinguish between right and wrong? How do logic and conscience interact when we are trying to do so?

Why do we have such a negative view of the word “coward”?

In what types of situations have you not acted based on what you know is right? Is there a pattern to the types of situations?

For further thought:

“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” ~ H. Norman Schwarzkopf


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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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