One of the observations of the present- day “Christian” is they lack moral courage. Moral courage involves the willingness to speak out and do that which is right in the face of forces that would lead a person to act in some other way. For one to have moral courage they must first have the courage to stand for the core values of the Christian doctrine. Most Christians have an aversion to speaking about their faith, much less standing up for what they believe. Moral courage is essentially an act it is a reflection of one’s character.
Moral courage comes from moral wisdom. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD. The fear of the LORD is foundational to true wisdom. All other types of learning are worthless unless built upon a knowledge of the LORD Himself.
Solomon understood the importance of building the right foundation when he wrote Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” A wise person fears/reverences/obeys the LORD; a fool despises God’s instruction and cannot be told what to do. The wise person has a foundation on which to build the moral wisdom to have the moral courage to do what is right.
The connection between the fear of God and wisdom means we cannot possess wisdom if we recreate God in our own image. Too many people want to “tame” God into a non-threatening nobody. But, if we redefine the LORD as a god that makes us feel comfortable, a permissive “buddy” who exists simply to bless us and give us what we want, we will not fear Him in the way He deserves to be feared. The Lord God Almighty is far greater than that, and the fear of the Lord begins when we see Him in His majesty and glory.
One of the major deterrent to moral courage is that of spiritual incompetence. Spiritual competence requires a knowledge of the written WORD in order to respond to a moral problem unrestrained by emotional passions. How often have you heard, “I know what they did is wrong, but they seem like such a nice person.” Spiritual competence, which comes by being Spirit led gives the believer insight into the situation at hand and the spiritual wisdom how to react to the situation. When confronted with a situation that may require hard decisions and deterrent to moral courage is that of risk aversion. Moral courage requires the willingness to take a risk that leaves one exposed to ridicule and mockery. Standing for our Christian beliefs requires moral integrity. This is the courage to speak out against what is wrong and sinful when others might see us as inappropriately crossing the line and oppose us for taking a stand.
Christians should understand that we should not be fearful of confrontation. It is important to remember any confrontational situation can only be won when one has the moral courage to face what is wrong. Our Nation is in moral decline because as Christians we have lacked the moral courage to speak against the evil of the day.
The amount of moral courage we have is directly related to our certainty. When we lack certainty in what we believe is shows in our communication skills. How often have you listened to a someone who flip-flops on what they actually believe? It takes moral courage to stand for what is right without compromising. The individual with the greatest amount of certainty is better equipped to deal with hostility, defensiveness and a variety of tactics used by our adversaries to prevent us from acting in a morally courageous manner. This what made the Apostle Paul such a force for the Gospel. He said to Timothy, “God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. Be not ashamed therefore of the testimony of our Lord,.. : but suffer hardship with the gospel according to the power of God; who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus… For which cause I suffer also these things: yet I am not ashamed; for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold the pattern of sound words which thou hast heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee guard through the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us.”
Often you will hear Christians talk about how they feel uncomfortable about being assertive. Assertive behavior is an honest, direct, and appropriate expression of one’s thoughts, feelings, or opinions. The reason to be assertive is to bring about a behavioral change in the other person. As Christians, we allow others to be assertive in their actions because we are fearful of offending. This fear or anxiety has resulted in many Christians remaining silent in their testimony for Truth. Moral courage is a means to triumph over fear by the certainty of our actions.
Today we need moral courage to overcome our fear and stand up for the core doctrinal beliefs of the Christian faith. Overcoming our aversion to taking a risk and developing an assertive attitude will help us enhance our moral courage. This can only be done by Christians taking the time to gain the knowledge of God’s Word and learning that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.