Like David, Daniel, and Jesus We Can Have the Courage to Stand Up for What's Right

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington and Austryn Strand

Austryn Strand, a high school freshman, shares the following ideas on the importance of courage.

There are many different kinds of courage:

  • the courage to stand up for what you believe in, even if the situation is scary;
  • the courage to say and do what you know is right, even if it means not being “cool;”
  • the courage to see people for who they really are.

The Bible has many examples of people who express tremendous amounts of courage:

David had the courage to stand up to Goliath and to stand up for what he believed in. While everyone else was scared out of their wits, David was willing to fight a giant because he knew his strength was in God, not in weapons. Because he trusted in God, he won.

Daniel had the courage to do what he knew was right, even though he would be thrown into a den of lions. He prayed to God three times a day, which, according to the new decree, was not "cool." But Daniel had a trusting courage. He knew that everything would work out for the best, and it did. He was safe in the lions' den.

The final man of courage was, of course, Jesus. He had uncountable courage. He totally trusted in God's love for him. He stood up for what he knew was right. He spoke what he knew was right. Most importantly, he had the courage to look beyond people's diseases and problems (when other people couldn't see past any of that) and see the people as God made them -- pure, healthy, and whole. He saw them for who they really were.

  • What teenagers most need is the courage to be different, to be separate from the group -- to speak up for what they truly know is right, rather than for what is popular.
  • They need the courage not to judge a book by its cover and to accept people for their uniquenesses.

For example: You're at school going through your normal routine, sitting at your friend's locker waiting for the bell to ring. All of a sudden, a girl who has been telling rumors about your friend comes up and starts to trash talk her, calling her really awful names. You sit there knowing that your friend is being put in a terrible and embarrassing situation.

I'm sure you already know what is the courageous thing to do here:

  • Help your friend. Say something. This is your good friend, and you don’t want him or her to be hurt. Too often, people don’t stand up to people who trash talk others.
  • Have the courage to say what you believe and to stand up for what you know is right.

The courage to do what is right is inside of us. We just need to find it. Then, we will be able to walk with the pride of knowing that we are truly courageous.

We can all work with Austyn's ideas to find the courage within us and express that courage. Here are some more ways:

If you find yourself in a situation where you're scared (you could be physically or emotionally frightened), turn to God, figure out why you're frightened, face that fear, relax in the knowledge that God's love is more powerful than fear, trust in God to take complete care of you, and be courageous. That could mean:

  • Do something you really want to do but are too frightened to do (like going wake boarding or sky diving).
  • Protect a friend from being bullied.
  • Stand up to people who try to take away your sense of self worth.

When you're tempted to say or do things that aren't right in order to be cool:

  • Turn to God to find the strength to stand for principle rather than submit to peer pressure.
  • Find the courage to be kind. Don’t criticize others; find the good in them.
  • Realize that obeying the law (moral and legal) keeps you safe, while disobeying the law opens you up to painful consequences. Find the courage to obey God’s law.

When you see people who are struggling – with illness, fitting in, or being happy:

  • See them as Jesus saw them -- as whole, complete, happy, included, free from any type of disease that would imprison them, always loved by their Father-Mother God
  • Reach out to them. They may be going through tough times. This could mean saying “hi,” including them in going out to a movie, inviting them to a party, or just simply listening.
  • Find the courage to love them. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to love the people who really need the most love.