How About This For A New Year’s Resolution: Be People of Courage
When you think of courage, what comes to mind? Is it someone in war who risks life and limb to rescue fellow soldiers? Is it doing a daring feat of danger? Is it possibly standing up for your convictions when everyone in your circle opposes you? Certainly these are acts of courage and should be noted as such.
Many examples of this are spread all over the world. Some of my personal heroes are the teenage Christian girls from Nigeria that were captured by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. I just finished reading their gut wrenching story in Bring Back Our Girls by Joe Parkinson and Drew Henshaw. This book describes the unimaginable horror of everyday life under these vile extremists.
What moved me to tears were for three years how some of them survived living in squalor and dirt, tormented everyday by these Islamists, beaten, and brainwashed. I don’t know how any of them came out reasonable normal, but many did.
I also think about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by terrorists because she wanted to go to school. She survived the assassination and has become an international spokesperson for women to get an education. She even gave a speech with passion at the United Nations. Impressive to say the least!
Less dramatic, but no less impressive is Liz Cheney, the Republican congresswoman from Wyoming, who is a strong conservative, opposed to most views and policies of the Democratic Party, but also an outspoken critic of former President Trump. Congresswoman Cheney is in no man’s land politically, where she doesn’t fit in either party, but continues to speak her convictions. Whether you agree with her or not, this is courage.
In addition, I think courage can be ascribed to individuals who consistently do the daily tasks of life, especially when tired and emotionally drained, in order to provide financially and mentally for themselves and others.
On this latter point a scene from the original Magnificent Seven movie comes to mind. (I should add that this is my favorite western and I have probably seen it 25 times). The Magnificent Seven is about the vanishing west where gunfighters are having a hard time finding people to hire them because civilization has taken over.
Eventually the gunfighters are hired by peasant farmers in Mexico to rid themselves of an evil bandit, who comes at will to take from them anything he needs. The scene I reference takes place when some of the boys of the village have attached themselves to one of the gunfighters and say that their fathers are cowards.
The gunfighter, O’Reilly, grabs and spanks one of the boys and says their fathers are not cowards. He explains the courage of their fathers, doing backbreaking work every day of their lives, to provide meals and shelter for them. He says this is real bravery that is why he became a gunfighter because he never had that kind of courage.
Doing the routine, consistent daily functions of life in my opinion is the real courage that we need today. Why most of us make resolutions is that we want some consistent change for the better. Good plan! But as we all know by February those plans of getting fit, eating right, spending more time with loved ones, go out the window. Essentially we lose that determination to be consistent in what we need to do.
So how do we get past the giving up that is so common? Maybe we need to see doing a consistent change of life is not just a great idea, but something courageous. Maybe, just maybe, having a different thought about our resolutions can motivate us in the correct direction.
I think O’Reilly is right. This is real bravery. But something within us has to see it more than a good idea, but a life and death decision that makes our lives and those around us better. This essentially is the motivation. Once we are motivated, then usually figuring out the details becomes easier.
Why do I sound so dramatic about daily routines being the stuff of courage? We only have so much time on planet earth. James 4: 14, says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” If we waste life every day, then spiritual speaking we are being cowards. We only have so much time and we need to seize the day.
Yes, there might be times when some of us might be positioned to do great heroic things, like Esther appearing before the king to plead for her people. Realistically, that won’t happen often. But what will change us and people we influence forever are people seeing us daily doing what is needed. This consistency is what will make an impact.
When our life is over and someone is eulogizing us at our funerals, hopefully they will tell about our daily, consistent lifestyle that made a difference. Yes, O’Reilly this is real bravery.