“If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?”
~ John E. Lewis
There are times in our lives in which we are faced with the difficult decision of standing up for what is right; and usually it is not an easy choice to make. Often times, doing the right thing can bring about a significant amount of hostility or negativity from others, and as a result, it is generally preferred to take the easier way out and not say or do anything, or even worse, agree with something that we know is wrong. But it imperitive that we stand for what we know deep within our hearts to be good and right–for the lives of those we intersect, for the lives of those we love, and most importantly, for ourselves and the eternal being within.
Evil prevails in this world when good people do nothing. And as John aptly points out, “If it is not us, then who?” If we all take the attitude that we are not the person to stand up for what is right, or bring about positive change, then evil will prevail. Similarly, if we take the attitude that it is not the right time in our lives or an ideal moment to stand up for what is right, then when will good ever stand a fighting chance?
Part of the problem is that we usually see no immediate positive result of our standing up for what is right, though we often see very negative results. It is easy to hold back from protesting a wrong or praising an unpopular right action when we know that the immediate result for ourselves can be ridicule, anger, or other very negative responses.
The truth, unfortunately, is that injustice is all around us. And standing up against it is not always easy. But if we are not the voice of truth–or examples of moral character and integrity–our hearts will have become surrounded by the darkness that we chose to accept.
Take some time to discover and maintain your moral courage today.
Questions to consider:
How do we define right and wrong? Is our perspective necessarily the best one for everyone on any issue?
Why is it hard to stand up for the right and the just? Is it necessary to do so if we want to live full lives?
How can we deal with people who do not seem to want to hear what is right?
For further thought:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise
If you can dream–and not make dreams your master;
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
~ Rudyard Kipling, If: A Father’s Advice to His Son