It has been said that true courage is most clearly and purely seen on the battlefield in war. Because I have never been a soldier, I do not know the feeling of an artillery barrage or the point of a bayonet. However, courage can and does manifest itself in many other ways in life.
Other than loyalty, courage is the most honorable character attribute that a person can possess.
There are 3 characteristics of true courage:
1. CHOOSING TO ACT IN THE FACE OF FEAR
It is a common misconception that brave and courageous men are fearless. This is not true. True courage is not the absence of fear, but the act of overcoming it.
Even Jesus Christ felt fear while pondering the circumstances of the upcoming arrest, “trial”, and execution. Jesus prayed that God would provide for an alternative fate. Yet, Jesus showed the world the most well-known act of courage as the Christ voluntarily went to the cross and died.
I do not and cannot compare human courage with that of Jesus Christ. But, it is important to note that even the Son of God dealt with this emotion while on Earth.
Piers Anthony provides us with another angle of this characteristic of courage. He once said, “Being terrified but going ahead and doing what must be done—that’s courage. The one who feels no fear is a fool, and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward.”
2. PERSEVERANCE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY
This characteristic of true courage is similar to the first. It reminds us that courage does not always have to be loud display of bravery. Sometimes courage is the ability to get up after being knocked down and resolving to try again tomorrow.
Acts of courage in this respect can be praying for the strength to perform in the face of negative circumstances. This can be guiding a business during bad economic conditions, holding on and praying for guidance during times when a marriage seems to be falling apart, battling an addiction, or preparing for and executing battle plans in the courtroom.
3. DOING THE RIGHT THING
Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. A man once said “The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself.”
This aspect of courage also involves everyday circumstances in our lives. Some examples of this are standing up for the honor of police officers when they are under assault, telling customers and clients the truth about a bad situation, and the willingness to ask God for fortitude when we are tempted by sinful desires. We have all heard the expression, “Just Do the Right Thing.” Most of the time we know what that is. It just takes an element of courage to do it.
I would like to leave you with quotes from some of the most courageous people in history.
-If it be my lot to die, let me do so with courage and honor in a manner which will bring the greatest harm to the enemy, and please, oh Lord, protect and guide those I shall leave behind. Give us the victory, Lord. General George S. Patton.
-Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. An excerpt of Paul’s letter from a prison cell to the Christians in Asia Minor.
-There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right. President Ronald Reagan
-Never do a wrong thing to make a friend–or to keep one. General Robert E. Lee
– It is bravery that is required to secure freedom. Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas
Finally, a quote from perhaps the most courageous man in the last 200 years – Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill.
I pray that God will provide you and me with the courage to do His will.