Debated within the black community today is whether black men are an endangered species. Does this derive from a perceived lack of virtue among men? I am not expert on this topic, but I want to learn.
Questions arise in our communities: Can anybody find a virtuous man, unafraid of death, who will leave behind a “Godly Legacy?” Are there men whose virtuous lives will deny death its victory? Men of determination risk being labeled cocky, arrogant, or egotistical. But, over time, within every man, driven and ambitious, or quiet and unassuming, a question emerges: “What must I do to set things right?”
Micah (6:1-8), in the Old Testament, asks: “What does the Lord require of you?” The answer: “To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.” This response is the Triad of Virtue, the foundation of a God-filled life, a God-filled community, and a God-filled family.
God says to us, through Micah (6:4-5), that we should consider the evidence of His being here for us. As minorities, we are often caught up in fear. Fear of change, fear of death, fear of job loss. Out of fear, we fail to do justice, we fail to show loving kindness, and we fail to walk humbly with God. This is not so of the Godly man! The Godly man is willing to risk his life, his job, and even his family. He curbs his anger and bends it toward justice. He shows kindness, all the while growing humble, as he walks with God. In the tears of the aging, we see reminiscence of a lifetime walking with God.
Micah reminds of us the Triad of Virtue. When Israel was enslaved in Egypt, God gave His people freedom. Today, Godly men fight for justice as they engage government and local leaders in a search for fair housing, and for shelters affording dignity for the homeless.
Micah reminded the faithful that, when they were without leaders, God provided Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and countless others. God has blessed modern mankind with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, and with Coach Tony Dungy, men whose leadership reflects the Hebrew interpretation of “loving kindness.”
Just as God acts toward us in loving kindness, He expects the same of us in our relations with others. Justice follows loving kindness. And, the Triad of Virtue extends beyond what is expected, asking that we give where no giving is required, act when no action is deserved. Virtue steeps within our attitudes, and is refined in our acts.
In virtuous men, there is no contradiction between philosophy and action. A virtuous man can work, pray, love, and play with conviction. A virtuous man knows, intellectually and spiritually, that following the principles of the Triad of Virtue will result in a Godly legacy.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami. To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org.