Of Cowardice and Righteousness
by Martin T Ingham
Rated "G" by the Author.
edited: Saturday, August 18, 2007
Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2007
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It's a fine line between being a coward and being righteous. How do we define it?
There is a fine line between being courageous and being a coward. It is very difficult to tell who will truly stand up and become a hero, and who will falter and cave in to their emotions during the heat of the moment. Truly, what defines us as hero or zero?
My life has really been too uneventful and mundane to find out whether I would have the courage to stand up and be heroic. I don’t make excuses, but don’t see I’ve anything to apologize for, either. In respect to doing what is right, I’ve turned away from the low road so many times, avoided drugs, violence, and immoral activities, even during my youth, when many succumb to such degrading activities, and even when immorality would have been the more entertaining way to go. Truthfully, I was afraid of what doing the wrong thing would do to me, so in that respect fear was a useful tool which led me on a more righteous path.
When it comes down to it, our lives are greatly controlled by fear, either by giving into the fear, or challenging the fear and working in spite of it. Fear of God, fear of parents, fear of society’s wrath, fear of our own conscience; it’s all fear, yet is it cowardice? When fear of doing the wrong thing makes you do what is truly right, are you a coward, or a righteous man? What’s the difference? Is the righteous man righteous because he chooses to be, or is it because he’s more of a coward than those who dare to do something different? I cannot answer that question right now, and it scares me ever more.
Can I honestly stare God in the knees and tell him that I have lived my life in a clean and moral way, for the right reasons? Or will primal human fear not hold up as a good enough reason for having done the right thing?
Then I must look at my life and ask; even without fear, could I have lived differently? My sense of honor and justice are not mere products of fear, even though my childhood may have been greatly influenced by it. No, I have always had a sense of right and wrong, and those evil things that eat away at society and at a man’s soul I have despised with a vengeance. I feel hatred at this very moment over those sleazy things and sleazy people who are working to destroy all that is right and just in the world. I wish I had the power to stand up and smite those who would dare defile the world and the innocent, but I am not God, and I do not have the wisdom of the almighty to enact flawless justice.
I have always tried to do the right thing in life, not out of cowardice, but out of fear, with a sense of right and wrong to guide me through it. It is all any of us can do in this primitive flesh in which we currently reside. So the line between cowardice and righteousness is very thin, indeed.