HIPS: Sometimes Doing the Right Thing Requires Extreme Courage
By Bryan Hyde
COMMENTARY -- A university professor regularly asks his history students what they would have been doing had they lived in a period where slavery was considered the norm.
Most students predictably and confidently assert that they would have been fearless crusaders for abolition and equal rights for all.
At this point, the professor asks them to name something they are currently doing which requires them to stand against something that is widely accepted by most of society.
He asks them to explain how they are actively risking their reputation, their future opportunities and loss of standing among their family, friends and community to stand for what they believe is right.
Time and again, virtually none of his students can provide their professor with a single example.
The hard truth is that it’s easy to stand against things like slavery and racism when those things are no longer considered acceptable by most of society. It’s not risky to agree with what most people already think.
Taking a truly courageous stand requires being willing to stand up against popular opinion. It requires a willingness to be reviled and hated, yet to hold fast to your principles.
That’s something not many people are willing to do.
We want to believe that we can be counted on to do the right thing under all circumstances.
But first we must be willing to develop the personal conviction and backbone to stand for what’s right, especially when the crowd is embracing something that isn’t.