Being good is difficult.
Being a Man of Courage is an even higher calling.
Since my kids were young I have been telling them, “It is far more important that you are good, than you are happy.” While perhaps not fully comprehending the meaning, I confess one of my prouder parenting moments came when out of the blue I asked my six year old daughter, “what’s more important being good or being happy?’ and she gave the correct reply.
Being good isn’t easy because it goes beyond not being bad and requires actions that are good. Those actions often go against our heart and are not necessarily a direct benefit to us but we know them to be good and they benefit others. For example, just because you didn’t cheat on the exam doesn’t mean you did well. To do well, you also have to study and concentrate while taking the exam. Perhaps my heart is different than yours but I never felt in my heart a desire to study for an exam, however, I knew it was the right thing to do in order to do well and reach my long term goals which included, happiness.
Being a Man of Courage is a higher calling because it requires that you believe you answer to a higher authority that is demanding your best effort. For Christians, that higher authority is Jesus Christ and he demands not just that we avoid being bad, we must also perform acts of kindness and goodness. That is a much higher standard and children and adults alike have difficulty reaching it.
While you may have studied for your exam, not everyone did and one of them might be inclined to cheat? What should you do about it? You are not being kind by allowing your classmate to cheat off of you. If you want to be kind, invite the cheater to study with you for the next exam.
After you spend your lifetime doing the right thing and studying and delaying your gratification, you earn the job you wanted that will provide well for you and your family. Congratulations. Your second year into the job after 3 promotions you finally get a peek into the inner circle and what you see makes your heart sink. The officers of the corporation are cooking the books, are stealing from the corporation, are draining all of the assets and will leave the employees and shareholders financially devastated. You and your family will be fine but many will be hurt. What does it take to be good in this situation? It takes a lifetime of doing the right thing, of studying, of delaying gratification, of acts of kindness and goodness to prepare you for this moment. The moral muscle you have developed should be used to bring this financial evil to a halt. It won’t be easy, it will require sacrifice, there will be pain but it is right and good and you - you are a Man of Courage.