We sing about being a people so bold, but let’s face it, sometimes we just wimp out.
To wimp out is to be weak and cowardly or unadventurous. We all do it. If it becomes habit, then the behavior shapes our identity. Over time, if the behavior continues, we risk becoming wimps. Who wants to be a wimp? I don’t.
Yet worse than wimping out is acting like a wimp and pretending you’re not. That is plain self-deception. Our covenant to affirm and promote a free and responsible search for truth obligates us to expose self-deceptive behavior by practicing honest self-examination and responsible disclosure of what the examination reveals, even if the picture is not pretty.
How have you lacked moral courage? Failed to stand strong for what you believe in? Failed to follow through with a commitment due to fear or cowardice? These times have put our covenant to the test, how are you doing on the test?
These questions may feel uncomfortable. They ask us to be accountable and admit when we have fallen short. Our principles are grand and helpful, like stars in the night that serve as useful guides in the darkness, yet like stars they will always be beyond us, out of reach. As such, falling short is inevitable.
When we wimp out, we need to first accept that part of ourselves and then we can change and grow. Acceptance begins with acknowledgment, the spiritual discipline of confession, and the related emotion of lament. Such acknowledgement nurtures humility and honesty, both essential in order to rebuild moral identity, reconcile with those whom we’ve let down, and reclaim boldness.
After all, it takes courage to admit, “I wimped out.”
See you on Sunday.
Rev. Chris J. Antal