Winston Churchill said, “Courage is the most important virtue because the effective practice of all other virtues depends upon courage.”
Merriam Webster defines courage as: “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”
Virtuous behavior does not come naturally. Let’s face it . . . it takes inner courage and moral strength to live a life that is rooted on principle not preference.
Consider the following:
- It takes courage to push back the darkness and stand in the light of truth.
- It takes courage to admit mistakes, make restitution, and seek peace in our relationships.
- It takes courage to forgive and love our enemies.
- It takes courage to confront evil, stand for righteousness, and seek justice.
- It takes courage to hold our assets with an open hand, be generous, and believe that our needs will be met.
- It takes courage to resist the siren call of temptation to live a life of self- gratification.
- It takes courage to overcome the fear of rejection and ridicule, and not be a people pleaser.
- It takes courage to stand firm with integrity when our business is threatened, our reputation is assaulted, and our well-being put at risk.
Courage always requires overcoming fear, disapproval, anxiety, and even pain.
In his book Rumors of Another World, Philip Yancy retells the courage of a black South African mother. In the era of apartheid, she was forced to watch as her 18-year-old son, and then her husband were murdered and their bodies burned by the police. When truth and reconciliation came, the perpetrators of such atrocities were given clemency if they willingly faced their accusers and acknowledged their guilt. When the policeman named van de Broek publicly recounted his crime, this mother was given an opportunity to respond. She said she wanted de Broek to gather up the dust of her husband’s burned body so he could have a decent burial. She then said:
“My family was taken from me, but I still have a lot of love to give. Twice a month, I would like for him to come to the ghetto and spend a day with me so I can be a mother to him. And I would like Mr. van de Broek to know that he is forgiven by God and that I forgive him too. I would like to embrace him so he can know my forgiveness is real.”
Spontaneously, the courtroom started singing Amazing Grace. Van de Broek didn’t hear the hymn. He had fainted overwhelmed.
The bereaved wife and mother showed courage in action. She had the courage to confront the difficulty, forgive the seemingly unforgiveable, and love her enemy.
It is one thing to see the problem, it is another to act courageously to bring a constructive solution to the problem. Courage does not deny the problem; it chooses to look for a workable solution to overcome the problem. It takes a step toward the problem believing that there is a supernatural possibility available to overcome the forbidding obstacle.
There is one thing I know for sure — sometime this week, this month, this year, the moment of testing will come. Fear, like a cloud, will descend upon us. The impossible will bring a barrage of doubt. A past failure will haunt us. A competitor will challenge us. The fainthearted will withdraw into a cell of victimhood. Every possible argument will be marshalled to justify their withdrawal. Before you let apathy dull your sense of responsibility, ask yourself this question — “What are the consequences of my inaction?” In other words, if I fail to act, what are the potential outcomes. If I take courage and act, what are the possibilities?
DON’T SURRENDER TO FEAR! This is your moment for courage.
- Admit your weakness but do not allow it to dismiss you from the battle.
- Remember, there is supernatural power available to you.
- Let your courage infect those who are standing with you.
- Keep your eyes fixed on the prize on the other side of the battle.
Above all remember:
Success is not final; failure is not fatal.
It is the courage to continue that counts.
Take courage and I will see you at the top.