Igniting the Moral Courage of America
By Dean Kilmer
Christian self-help/Inspirational Nonfiction
Moral Courage Publications
The moral landscape of America is eroding. The values of “The Greatest Generation” have been replaced by greed, selfishness, and a widespread disdain for the traditional moral values on which this great nation was founded.
Dean Kilmer, author of Igniting the Moral Courage of America, challenges individual Americans to take action to reverse the tidal wave of negative values that is destroying the greatness of America. It must begin with a personal commitment to integrity. “Integrity, however, cannot become the norm in our nation’s people until good people become courageous people.”
When individual Americans commit to becoming courageous people of integrity, they will intentionally spread that commitment to their families, schools, communities, and ultimately to our nation as a whole.
It is not too late to reverse the tidal wave of negative values that has been robbing America of its moral strength for half a century. It is not too late to restore this great country’s commitment to traditional moral values. That restoration will happen when America, one person at a time, steps forward with renewed moral courage to make it happen.
Will you accept the challenge?
EXAMINING AMERICA’S MORAL DECLINE
Igniting America’s moral courage sounds like an incredibly daunting task, doesn’t it? Before you slough it off as too big a job, read the next few pages! As we approach the mission of improving our nation’s moral standards, you may ask yourself, “How can I affect the future of the whole nation?” The answer, of course, is you can’t! However, if you will allow God to work in you, He not only will control your heart, but He will expand your influence in ways that you could never imagine.
It surprises people when I tell them that many of my heroes are elderly widows, some of whom have had a great impact on my life and the lives of other people. On a warm August day, I stopped to talk with ninety-two-year-old Durcie Turner as she mowed the lawn at her little house. It was always fun to stop by her house because she had the warmest toothless smile I’ve ever seen, and the vegetables from her garden were some of the best in town. This pleasant, cheerful, little lady, who had been fighting cancer for almost six years, never complained about her health problems. Her contagiously positive attitude had a great impact on my life.
Not long after her ninety-third birthday, the cancer got the best of Durcie, and she was forced into the hospital. Now if you can get the picture, this was an eighty-six-pound, ninety-threeyear-old lady, who was in pain every minute of her life, lying alone in the hospital, waiting to die. She had every reason to be bitter and unhappy. However, she had such a wonderful attitude that I would wait until I was a little down to go see her because she always picked me up with her cheerful spirit. The first time I visited Durcie, I took my Bible and read from John 1. Her response was, “Dean, that’s my favorite passage of Scripture.” The second time I visited her, the passage was John 2. She responded, “That’s my favorite passage of Scripture.” The next visit was John 3, and of course Durcie exclaimed, “That’s my favorite passage of Scripture.” Durcie loved God’s Word. She loved life, and she loved people. The only thing Durcie didn’t like was nursing homes. She had heard some stories about nursing homes that scared her, so her goal was either to go home and finish harvesting her garden or to go home and be with the Lord in heaven. The only thing she didn’t want was to be placed in a nursing home.
Things got worse for Durcie as the doctors realized there was nothing they could do for her in the hospital and determined that she needed to go to a nursing home. She now weighed eighty-four pounds, couldn’t get out of bed, was in constant pain, and was in the one place in the world she didn’t want to be. I must admit that I hesitated before going to see her for the first time in that place. I remember the sterile appearance, the nursing home smell, and the big metal door; this just didn’t seem to be the right place for this sweet, little, elderly lady. After a little hesitation, I opened the door and walked in, and from the second bed I heard an excited voice saying, “Dean, come over here. I‘ve got something to tell you.” I walked to her bedside, looked at that wonderful toothless smile, and asked, “Durcie, what are you so excited about?” She pointed to the bed next to hers and remarked, “That’s Jo Ann, and that’s the reason God put me here!” What an incredible spirit! She went on to explain that Jo Ann had suffered a stroke that caused her to lose the use of her body, except for one arm and one leg. Durcie explained that sometimes Jo Ann would kick off her covers with that one leg and would then get cold. At other times, when she was hurting, she would raise her arm so Durcie would know that she was in pain. Although Durcie couldn’t get out of bed to help her, she could hit the call button to let the nurses know that
Jo Ann needed help. It was now her mission in life to care for Jo Ann. With that mission and a call button, she drove the nurses crazy!
Durcie had such an impact on people that at her funeral, Jo Ann’s family said they had never seen such a godly, Christian woman. Since her death, Durcie has continued to influence people for good, as other preachers and I have shared her story with thousands of people. Her purpose was to serve God, and God did something great with her life. She was just a sick, little widow, but what a great world this would be if all of us lived with the same love and purpose! Durcie had integrity born of the character she developed by serving God.
What about you? Do you know what purpose God has for your life? It is average people just like you and me, common people, ordinary people, that God can use to restore the upward movement in our country, if we are willing. Are you willing? Paul said, in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” People like you and me make a force for good that becomes the answer to the problems our country faces. If we will live as people of integrity and honor, the downward trend in our nation will turn into a peaceful, upward movement.