A Rabbi has written about moral courage.
What do we do when our beliefs about right and wrong are put to the test?
More often than we’d like or expect, our beliefs about right and wrong, ethical, moral and immoral are put to the test. And we have to decide: are we going to stand on principle and speak up for what we know is right? Or are we going to keep quiet and let it slide?
When people are faced with a situation where they know something immoral or illegal is going on at work, or in their community, or at school, most people chose not to do or say anything about it, even anonymously.
Making moral pronouncements on Facebook is fine, but what risks have we taken to help make the world a better place? We have the opportunity to show moral courage in the ordinary, everyday things too – which can also be pretty risky, and pretty terrifying.
Like speaking up for someone who’s been bullied or ridiculed or excluded.
This isn’t only a child’s problem. It happens every day, all the time with adults too.
What do when someone gossips to us about another person? Do we just sit there and listen? Do we join in?
Have you ever tried saying to a friend, “You know, I really don’t like to listen to gossip, so would you mind stopping right there?”
It’s hard to do that. We know it’s not right to gossip, but we don’t want to come off as holier-than-thou.
And what about standing up to our children, and telling them they can’t just do anything they want; or they can’t get a cell phone even though all the other kids have one; or they can’t go out dressed totally inappropriately, even when their friends dress that way.
Moral courage is hard. Teaching our children our values is hard. We want them to fit in and have friends. We don’t want them to be labeled as trouble-makers. We don’t want to seem prudish or unreasonable.
And anyway, we know other people feel the same way we do, so why don’t they say something about it? How many times have we said yes when we really wanted to say no, just because saying yes is easier.
The Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz” showed us we can talk ourselves out of anything when we’re scared.
But if we’re not willing to stand up for the values we believe in when it’s risky or scary to do so – then they’re not values, they’re just words. @TheRunningRabbi (Click to Tweet!)
Rabbi Hirshel Jaffe, a cancer survivor, is a motivational/inspirational speaker on the theme NEVER GIVE UP! He authored “Why Me? Why Anyone?” which chronicles his rescue from leukemia and his spiritual triumph over despair. Known as “The Running Rabbi” for competing in the NY Marathon, he received the “Award of Courage” from President Ronald Reagan in a White House ceremony. Rabbi Jaffe was one of the clergy who visited the American hostages in Iran to offer them comfort and hope and was asked by the President to greet them at the White House upon their return. He received an honorary Doctorate from his seminary for “his work with the sick, and his noble influence upon all people. You can follow him on Facebook.
Image courtesy of Oliver Cole.