“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”
Here she is! We have just pulled her from the bed of another man! What a disgrace! This woman must die! The great prophet Moses had commanded in the scriptures that such a sin must be judged by death! What say you, Jesus the righteous? The sequel of a life of courage will typically present itself in this format. There are those instances where established tradition, authority, and expectation will have to be circumvented in pursuit of a higher principle. It is in such situations that the virtue of courage shines brightest. Jesus, our master teacher has instructed us concerning discerning “when” the virtue of courage is fundamentally necessary.
In our previous study, we noted the “what” of courage. In that study, we stated “Being submissive to our Father’s will sometimes bring us into conflict with this world.” Courage is radical submission to the will of God. It is that stance of defiance and disposition of resistance to anything which brings us out of alignment with God’s will. Since this is what courage entails, let’s briefly look at an observable principle concerning “when” the virtue of courage will be necessary.
Courage is the capacity that allows us to take risks, make sacrifices, and be, as Martin Luther King Jr. said regarding Christian faith, “dangerously unselfish.” We will find that courage will become necessary “when” our resolve concerning a conviction or fundamental godly principle is challenged. Without a firmly held belief system, courage becomes unnecessary. Conviction precedes courage! There will be people, places, and perspectives that will cause us to question our commitment to those first principles. However, courage helps us to withstand and grow through ongoing pain, suffering, isolation, and related difficulty. Righteousness requires it, and the Bible commands us to be bold and courageous more than 25 times. God takes courage and its lack very seriously.
Jesus in his response to the angry, passionate mob, eager for justice, contended with three (3) common sources of human spinelessness. These are; 1) a dominant perception or ideology concerning reality; 2) the impression and expression of reality as interpreted and experienced by many and 3) the weight of a global/public/peer opinion concerning reality. In our next study, we will critically evaluate these key traits to demonstrate how we can use Jesus’ example to display the virtue of courage, “when” the time comes.