Saturday, July 13, 2013

The First Essential Question Needed for Courage: Is It Right?

Let me invite you to explore four essential questions that our children, and we, must answer to be a braveheart. Today, I will explore "Is it right?" and then catch the others in later posts. Here are the questions:
1. Is it right?
2. Is it wise?
3. Am I the one?
4. Do I trust?

With the right answer to these questions, courage happens, courage that makes a difference.

Question one: Is it right?

Are the words or the actions that are wanting courage "right" to do? And, let me add two other questions we could ask that might help in some situations: "Is it good?" or "Is it excellent?" Or, maybe you can think of other questions that would help decide if words or actions are important and hard enough to need courage. But, lets start with "Is it right?"

Knowing that something good and right needs done or said is the power behind courage, and prevents courage from slipping to foolishness. To have courage, a person must know a right or a good. A person without an understanding of right and good has no reason to be brave.

Trying to decide between right and wrong, or good and bad, can sound simplistic. Sometimes the distinction is simple and works well, but sometimes it doesn't.

For example, you can be sure that telling the truth and being kind are right. Rooted in the Bible and in most cultures, these are standards of right and wrong. If a person is being picked on, it is right to be kind to him. If the building inspector asks you if you are following code, the truthful answer is right.

Doing or saying the right thing can cost. Being kind to someone who is ostracized by the group can result in the group ostracizing the kind person. Telling the truth to a building inspector can result in more expensive work. But, they are right.

Not to become legalistic, but are we teaching children things that are cleanly right and good? Things that they will not doubt because they are taught in God's word and are common sense. And, how do we teach? It is best done by word and example. What do they know from you and me by what we teach and model, not "Do as I say and not as I do" but "Do as I say and do!" What is our source of rights and wrongs in life? What is our authority? And, what do we teach or model unintentionally?

Dana and I were just talking about some things we think our children learned from us, and some were not intentional. Between annual vacations and moving, they learned to have adventure and that moving is okay. They learned that they can live away from their parents, because we did. They learned to value books and reading: that one was intentional! What are your children learning is right and good from you?

Picking a right can get complicated. It is right to tell the truth, always. But, Paul says in Ephesians to "speak the truth in love." As in most decisions to act or speak, there is right. But, the right needs to be done in
love, for the best of the other person. The controller is love. That is clear. But, knowing what that means in any specific situation can be fuzzy. How much of the truth? Do you write a note, give a hug, or shake your finger?

Let's not get lost in the fuzzy. Fuzzy can often become an excuse to not do or say the right thing: "I don't know if this is right to say because I might hurt her, so I won't say anything." Fuzzy means be careful, not give up on doing right.

That is why we need wisdom. Wisdom sorts out the fuzzy. And, often points to the best way to act or speak.

A discussion on wisdom is coming. But, don't wait! Start now. Ask God. James 1:5 says: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." That will hold you over!

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