Moral Courage (Part 2)

(cc) Walt Stoneburner - Flickr

(cc) Walt Stoneburner - Flickr

In “Moral Courage (Part 1)“, we looked extensively at the meaning and origins of morals. Morality, in the external sense, is the standard of right and wrong as established ultimately by God and revealed in His word. My own personal moral code is shaped as I decide whether or not, and to what extent, I will follow His standards. And that’s where courage comes into play.

The world does not always agree with the moral code that God has established.

Homosexuality

God’s word prohibits homosexual conduct (Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). God calls homosexual behavior vile and shameful. He uses very strong language in his condemnation of homosexual behavior, leaving no question as to His complete lack of tolerance for such conduct. Don’t take my word for it. Go read the two passages listed above.

The world says that homosexuality is simply an alternative lifestyle, that it is healthy and perfectly normal, and that if I disagree then I am narrow-minded, homophobic, hateful, and wrong. So I have a choice to make. I can be politically correct and choose to accept the world’s view, or I can choose to accept God’s way.

Abortion

God’s word clearly establishes that life is holy, the implications of which are undeniable: abortion is against the will of God. However, in our society, abortion is simply seen as a matter of “choice” for the pregnant woman (or teenager). Society’s view is certainly the more convenient approach, but it spits in God’s face.

Divorce

“‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel” (Malachi 2:16). “Then why did Moses allow people to divorce?”, Jesus’ followers asked Him in Matthew 19. His response: “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:8-9)

God set the bar high: marriage is for life, period. Only one exception is allowed. If Susan were to cheat on me by having sex with someone besides me, then God would waive His prohibition of divorce and allow me to divorce Susan. With that lone exception, the vows that Susan and I exchanged on Saturday, October 16, 1982, in Round Rock, Texas, are a life-long covenant that God expects us to honor … until death separates us. But in today’s society, divorce is simply a quick solution to an unhappy marriage, with about one-half of all marriages ending in divorce. [1]

Igniting the Moral Courage of America

Igniting the Moral Courage of AmericaIn his book, Igniting the Moral Courage of America, Dean Kilmer says that over the past fifty years, America has been inundated by a “tidal wave of negative values” which “has eroded the shores of America to the point that our people have lost the real meaning of life” [2]. That tidal wave of negative values includes such things as: the acceptance of abortion, the removal of prayer from schools, increases in the number of divorces, and the homosexual rights movement [3].

In other words, a progressive decline in biblical moral values is killing America!

What can we do to restore our beloved land to a nation that can say once again, in all honesty, “In God We Trust”? Kilmer suggests a few steps that will begin moving us in that direction.

  • We must base our personal system of moral values on the timeless principles of God’s word, and then we must be willing to take a stand for those principles.
  • We must commit to establishing homes that are built on love, moral purity, and faithfulness.
  • We must teach our young people to be respectful and courteous towards other people, and to approach life with a positive attitude.
  • We must work to restore integrity in our school systems, and reverse the encroachment of immoral “worldviews” in the public education of our children.
  • We must work within our communities to restore a respect for, and a commitment to, the development of good moral character.
  • We must courageously resist those who would try to change the legal definition of marriage in order to push a homosexual agenda.
  • We must be willing to take risks for a worthwhile purpose.
  • We (each of us individually) must allow God to empower our lives by building those lives on the eternal Truth of His word.

Compassionate Courage: Homosexuality

WBC Protest 2005

WBC Protest 2005

Standing up for our convictions does not mean that we have to be ugly or nasty in our approach.

The “God Hates Fags” tactics of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas [4], are completely obnoxious, arrogant, and belligerent, and therefore are not effective in communicating the Truth of God’s word. Their hate-filled rhetoric, in fact, actually strays from that standard of Truth.

God does not hate homosexuals.

John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world and sent Jesus to die for sinners. His love is for sinners, and the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood was for the purpose of offering those sinners relief from the terrible consequences of their sin.

Romans 5:8 tells us that God’s love for us is demonstrated in the fact that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. He didn’t wait until after we were no longer sinners to start loving us.

2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God doesn’t want anyone to spend eternity in hell. He wants everyone to repent of their sins and accept His offer of salvation. And that’s the key. Sin must be left behind in order to accept God’s offer of salvation. He loves me and wants me to be saved, but He leaves it up to me to accept or reject His offer.

It is clear from these verses that God loves everyone, even sinners, even those who have homosexual tendencies and desires. God does not hate homosexuals.

What He does hate is the physical act of homosexuality. A person with homosexual tendencies does not have to give in to those tendencies and commit sin. Similarly, if I were inclined to be attracted to beautiful women to the point that I had strong urges to have sexual relations with them, I would not have to act on those urges. In fact, I would be expected not to act on those urges, but rather to overcome them.

Any temptation (an illicit desire to commit sin) can be overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13). If I face the temptation to commit adultery, I have the ability to overcome that temptation. If I face the temptation to steal, I have to ability to overcome that temptation. If I face the temptation to have homosexual relations, I have the ability to overcome that temptation. That’s a promise from God.

A much more compassionate approach than “God Hates Fags”, is providing help to those who want to overcome homosexuality. Programs such as Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out and Exodus International exist for that very purpose.

Compassionate Courage: Abortion

Abortion is murder. As a Christian, I must have the courage to stand up and let my voice be heard in opposition to this horrible atrocity. But murder is also murder.

According to a December 2007 paper entitled “CLINIC VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION”, published by NARAL Pro-Choice America, “Since 1993, seven clinic workers – including three doctors, two clinic employees, a clinic escort, and a security guard – have been murdered in the United States. Seventeen attempted murders have also occurred since 1991. In fact, opponents of choice have directed more than 5,600 reported acts of violence against abortion providers since 1977, including bombings, arsons, death threats, kidnappings, and assaults”. [5]

How in the world can a person claiming to oppose abortion on scriptural grounds (because it is murder), justify in their mind committing the same sin (murder) against an abortion practitioner? Would I then be justified in murdering that person in cold blood because he committed murder? Then could someone else murder me for committing murder? Such reasoning is patently absurd!

Andrew Fittz, a friend who commented on one of my previous posts, made the astute observation that “our morals drive us to something beyond taking a stand on this moral dilemma”. Morality also calls for compassion. Compassionate courage in dealing with the scourge of abortion should lead us to minister to those who are faced with the decision to abort or give birth. As Andrew points out, “Our morals drive us to help the mothers who chose to have their babies even when the option to abort is tempting.” Helping such a mother explore adoption options, perhaps even becoming adoptive parents or foster parents ourselves, are ways to go beyond simply taking a stand, and practice Compassionate Moral Courage.

Conclusion

The longer I live, the more I understand that, in most areas of life, balance is the key. That same principle applies here. It is essential that I mold my personal moral code on the principles of God’s word. As my moral values develop, I must have the courage to take a stand for those principles, even if it involves personal risk. My boldness in speaking up for my convictions must always be tempered with compassion.

Compassionate Moral Courage … a balanced approach to living a godly life.

Paul O'Rear Signature

Photo Credits:

  1. Compass” by Walt Stoneburner (Flickr), Creative Commons License
  2. WBC Protest 2005” © 2005 Westboro Baptist Church, Used by permission.


Sources:

  1. Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2005“; National Vital Statistics Report: Volume 54, Number 20 (July 21, 2006); National Center for Health Statistics; Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Dean Kilmer, Igniting the Moral Courage of America: Six Ways You Can Inspire People To Live With Integrity (Waxahachie, Texas: Moral Courage Publications, 2006), page 7.
  3. Ibid., page 12.
  4. Fred Phelps.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 19 Nov 2008, 23:20 UTC. 22 Nov 2008.
  5. Anti‐Choice Violence and Intimidation” (NARAL Pro-Choice America; December 1, 2007), page 1.

 

Please be respectful of others when posting a comment, even if you disagree with me or with another commenter. I reserve the right to delete any comment that is snarky, offensive, off-topic, or contains profanity. By posting a comment on this blog, you agree to abide by my Comment Policy .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “Moral Courage (Part 2)

  1. I wish more young people would read what you just wrote and take it to heart. I think that these days, many people are so afraid to offend a certain group or to oppose an issue because they will be persecuted themselves.