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Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #23 --- Moral Courage

Updated on March 8, 2011

Quotations on Moral Courage

The truest courage is that which nerves a man to do that which he knows to be right, no matter what the cost. Moral courage is greater than physical courage, just as the intellectual dominates the physical.

—W.J. Northen, The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky., May 15, 1899.

Courage is virtue uncompromised.

—Marvin H. Christensen, The Challenger, Hamilton, New Zealand, February 1965.

Courage consists not in gambling with fear, but being resolutely and determinedly engaged in a just cause.

—Alvin W. Fletcher, West Central States Mission Bulletin, Billings, Mont., June 1960.

Courage is the boldness in the right inspired by invincible faith in the right.

—Nephi Jensen, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 29, 1933.

The great man is he whose reliance on truth, on virtue and on God is unfaltering. There are three points on cultivating courage that we should never forget: (a) Stand firmly on some conscientious principle–some law of duty. (b) Be faithful to truth and right on small occasions and in common events. (c) Trust in God for help and power.

—William M. Anderson, Sr., Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, July 15, 1923.

It takes courage to be honest in one’s thinking. It takes courage to stand for what one knows to be right. It is a sign of great strength of character to be able to say no, when one should, and to separate one’s self from the tempter who delights in doing wrong and in leading others to do likewise.

—Samuel O. Bennion, Liahona the Elders Journal, Independence, Mo., July 14, 1936.

Courage is a quality of the mind. It is that within you which subdues fear, conquers the weakness of your flesh, enables you to face danger and difficulty. Courage is the antithesis of cowardice but not of fear. In fact, fear is its prerequisite. To be afraid to do and yet to do is courage. The greater the physical or moral timidity, the greater the capacity for courage. The fiercer the battle, the greater the victory.

—Wilfred G. Hurley, Intermountain Catholic, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 16, 1932.

Courage is a valuable asset and may be described as moral resistance.

—Ernest Lyon Waldorf, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Jan. 22, 1921.

Courage, which is rooted in faith in God and truth, as well as a conviction that each one of us can make an important contribution to the law and order of the world, can have surprising effects for good. Never underestimate what just one person like you can do who dares to take a stand for what is true and good.

—James G. Keller, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Feb. 15, 1956.

The man who lacks courage will usually lack the urge of divine compulsion.

—M. Owen Kellison, Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec. 30, 1939.

Love must control our courage, love must direct our power; love must be the expression, the end and the limit of courage.

—William Warren Landrum, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., July 7, 1902.

Moral courage you need as well as physical courage--that kind of moral courage which enables you to adhere without faltering to a determined course of action, which your judgment has indicated as the one best suited to secure the desired results. ... Moral courage demands that you assume the responsibility for your own acts. ... Courage is more than bravery. Bravery is fearlessness, the absence of fear. The weakest dolt may be brave, because he lacks the mentality to appreciate his danger; he doesn't know enough to be afraid. Courage, however, it that firmness of spirit, that moral backbone which, while fully appreciating the danger involved, nevertheless goes on with the undertaking. Bravery is physical; courage is mental and moral. You may tremble; your legs may quake; your knees may be ready to give away--that is fear. If, nevertheless, you go forward; if, in spite of this physical defection you continue to lead your men against the enemy, you have courage. The physical manifestations of fear will pass away.

—C.A. Bach, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 23, 1917.

No human quality is comparable to moral courage–the courage which a true man exhibits in his devotion to a given principle. When in his love of a great cause and in his great determination to do what is right in the sight of God, he regards not what men say about him, and is undaunted and unmoved by opposition from any quarter, he rises to the very pinnacle of moral dignity, majesty and grandeur. For all moral courage there is a basis of intelligence and reason. Mere physical courage is blind. It is guided by no principles or motive or thought. But behind every act of moral heroism there is a rational motive and purpose. Moral courage is the unconquerable will and purpose to do what we know to be our duty.

—J.B. Hawthorne, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 7, 1895.

No one can expect to leave an impress upon the world of thought and action without courage–moral courage, that which enables one do to do what he feels he should do to meet the opposition and scorn of the world, the courage to be true to oneself, let it cost what it will, even life itself.

—Leon Sonfield, Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas, Dec. 6, 1897.

To be a man without manliness is an impossible paradox at which thousands have failed in the effort. The smallest thing in the world is a small man, an unmanly man, a man without conviction or courage. Of all the abominable things on earth ... it is [a man] that is lazy and slothful; and particularly true when such an imitation poses as a follower of Jesus Christ. ... The true follower of Jesus Christ must combine with the gentler virtues of the Christian religion the qualities of manliness, courage and fortitude. With the beautiful graces of gentleness, forbearance, forgiveness, sympathy and love, there must be intertwined in character and life the more robust attributes of firmness, uprightness and strength. Whatever else a Christian should be, he must be robust, bold, fearless, courageous and manly.

—C.P. Roney, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., Jan. 19, 1920.

Courage is the quality which makes a man overcome the weakness within himself. It is a spiritual and mental rather than a physical thing and can be developed.

—Gene Tunney, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., March 24, 1929.

It requires more moral courage to decide affirmatively than negatively in religion. It is easier to stand still than to advance. Yet it is the making of a decision that develops and broadens the mind. The man who makes a definite stand in any work becomes stronger than him who stands hesitatingly at the parting of the ways.

—Lyman R. Martineau, Salt Lake Herald-Republican, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 13, 1913.

There is no courage that surpasses living out honest convictions every day.

—F.M. McConnell, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Jan. 2, 1941.

Courage is the basis upon which all other qualities must rest and by which all other qualities are stimulated. Without courage no one will be faithful. It takes courage to speak the truth and to live pure lives. Someone has called it consecrated self-mastery or moral muscle.

—M.M. Wolf, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, Sept. 15, 1924.

Courage is not always the same as bravery. It is a when frightened to the depth of one's very being. Some people have an inherent indifference to danger. They are naturally brace. At least they appear to be. We need both moral and spiritual courage desperately today. So few dare to be different.

—W.R. White, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Aug. 23, 1967.

Moral courage consists in serving the right, and never succumbing to mere might; it consists in unflinching resistance to the temptations of the popular and the profitable, the easy or the expedient, if principle is to be sacrificed, or the shrine of truth to be desecrated. Moral courage is, for the most part, no sudden attainment; it needs to be wisely cultivated and exercised, and should be practiced with steadfastness and firmness, and it may then become the habit of our lives, and like all other habits, good or bad, become a second nature. The continuous conflict with those temptations which beset us from time to time, not only brings experience, but nerves the heart, and renders victory easier in time to come. The feeling that we have not moral courage sufficient to deny our own dominant desires, or to face our opponent's ridicule, will--even if not made public--rankle in our own hearts, and we shall, even if we do not lose the respect of others, cease to respect ourselves. If a man knows a thing is wrong, and yet does it, one half his days are spent in vain regrets for the wrong he does and the mistakes he makes in the other half, and yet his evil deeds are no sooner repented than repeated, and his errors committed again and again in the face of many bitter experiences, within a spirit of self-sufficiency or wantonness. A very great portion of the evil and mischief done in society and in the world, is committed under the consoling sense of irresponsibility.

—N.Y. Schofield, The Contributor, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 1883.

Surely the Psalmist has caught the right vision when he said, "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart." (Psalms 27:14.) It is only the man of courage that is able to wait on the Lord; the coward, the weakling will try to do things to please the rabble, and will thereby meet defeat; the man of courage will do what the Lord requires; he will hearken unto His voice, he will believe and obey His laws, and thus he will triumph over all obstacles that may be thrown in his pathway. The man of courage is willing to be tested, for he knows that truth will bear the light of investigation, but he will be wise enough to refuse to contend with those who are practicing folly. Courage develops character, it becomes a building power; it furnishes its possessor with the proper equipment for life. He who lacks courage can never reach the place of self-mastery, for it requires a manly courage to enable one to subdue his own human nature and subordinate it to the will of God. ... The man of courage will admit his mistakes and will correct them. It is the coward who tries to justify himself in the things that are erroneous. The man of courage can find victory in apparent defeat, for he will discard the thing that is untrue and lay hold upon the thing that is true and abiding. He will patiently search out the way of life and order his life thereby. He will set an example for those with whom he is permitted to mingle, and will be able to encourage and uplift the unfortunate and downtrodden.

—J.E. Vanderwood, Zion's Ensign, Lamoni, Iowa, Dec. 9, 1926.

No man is courageous unless he has power over himself. That is the first evidence of courage. To say to oneself, “This I must do, and that I must do, because God so wills it. I must give of myself because the Lord has so commanded.” That is courage! ... God requires of us that we love our fellowmen. Do we dare to do it? If so, we are pioneers before God, and somehow the desert of our lives will blossom into gardens. ... Faith and courage are unconquerable. The devil stands aside for men who have faith and courage. He has no power over them.

—John A. Widtsoe, Millennial Star, Liverpool, England, Sept. 29, 1932.

There is a difference between courage and bravery. The latter may be sometimes merely a blustering front. Courage in daring for the right is supported by a quiet inner disregard for any or all consequences to one's self, when performing righteous duty. Like every worthy structure, true courage must built upon a strong and firm foundation. As a basis for true courage within the soul, nothing can excel for anyone, the deep knowledge within the heart that he is standing for that which is right. Cowardice is not built upon that kind of foundation. Courage is built upon the rock of truth. It is always a superior element in any individual. Cowardice is built upon the sands of the false--upon treachery, intrigue, wickedness, deception. It is a soul-impoverishing and INFERIOR quality.

—James E. Yates, Zion's Advocate, Independence, Mo., November 1945.

There is no finer quality of life than courage. When there is no courage there can be no perfect peace. Where peace is not, fullness of enjoyment is impossible, and the very best and richest of life becomes impoverished. Wherever courage is lacking, large achievement is beyond the reach; for with a low courage a man's best endeavor cannot reach high. The finest of courage is therefore a concomitant of the fullness of life. Courage is an inherent soul quality of humankind. Were this not true, the world's mightiest accomplishments could never have been born. ... The acceptance of God, and good, and the awareness that some time, and in some way, all good must ultimately predominate over all that is not good, is the mainspring of the best and finest courage that the world has ever known. ... Ignorance and fear are close relatives. Knowledge of the truth, and courage, are complements of each other. Knowledge gives courage to the soul that acquires knowledge; and by courage, knowledge is won.

—James E. Yates, Zion's Ensign, Lamoni, Iowa, April 2, 1925.


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