Do you find it difficult, at times, to stand firm in your faith? Are you tempted to compromise your integrity under pressure from those you love or admire? Or — are you determined to stay true to yourself, firm in your convictions, and faithful to your Savior, even when it means opposing the crowd?
Courage is not gained once and never lost. It’s a daily, hourly, and moment-by-moment choice – an intentional decision. It’s something that grows stronger and easier to put into action if we practice it often. Courage always requires us to push past our doubts and exercise our faith in the midst of our fears. We need no courage — if there is no fear.
I was recently in Washington D.C. and visited Ford’s theatre where President Abraham Lincoln was shot. Shortly after my trip, I read a fascinating article about the President who took his place and a senator who courageously defended his presidency.
Andrew Johnson became our seventeenth President when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. When President Johnson took office, he believed it was important to reunite our Northern and Southern states. Congress strongly disagreed. Therefore, Senators and Congressman set forth impeachment proceedings in an attempt to stop President Johnson’s plan of reconciliation.
Senator Edmond Ross from Kansas was elected shortly before Congress began the impeachment process. As a member of the Senate, Senator Ross would help decide the fate of President Johnson. Actually, as fate would have it, Edmond Ross became the deciding vote.
History records that this Senator from Kansas was “a man to watch,” and predicted he would rise in power to surpass other members of Congress. But, there was one thing standing in his way. Senator Edmond Ross believed president Johnson deserved a fair trial and voted not guilty when it came time to vote.
Ross’s decision cost him friendships, financial gain, and political advancement. On that day, He said to his wife, “Millions cursing me today will bless me tomorrow…though not but God can know the struggle it has cost me.” Twenty years later, the Supreme Court and Congress honored the wisdom of Senator Ross’s decision, by changing the impeachment laws. Prior to his death, Congress awarded him a special pension and our nation publicly honored his bravery. Ultimately, it was concluded that Senator Edmond Ross had saved the United State from crisis and division by courageously standing up for what he believed in — he stayed true to himself.
So, what would you do if you were faced with a difficult decision? If you were being pressured to cast a controversial vote? If you were forced to state your beliefs, confess your convictions, or present your case? At times, it can be difficult, even frightening to oppose the views and beliefs of others, but that’s exactly what our Savior expects from us in this lost and sinful world.
“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.” Philippians 1:27
What will you do when your faith is challenged?