Balance. Purpose. Enlightenment.
Men of special virtue and wisdom owe their powers to the trials they have endured. Mencius
Of the twelve primary virtues Lemurians work to develop and bring into balance in our lives, Courage is one most people would recognize as important. But how many really understand the deeper qualities of this virtue?
There are many who show extraordinary Courage and determination in the face of the harshest circumstances. John Lewis, inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was willing to put his own life in jeopardy as he marched for a cause he believed was important for all people. Badly beaten by police batons and jailed many times, he offered no resistance, true to his code of non-violent resistance to injustice.
Another was John McCain, imprisoned in Viet Nam for 5-1/2 years, facing repeated torture and isolation. How does such a person hold on to their sanity, much less refuse an offer of early release because it would have meant leaving before other prisoners? What motivates a John Lewis or John McCain in the face of physical, mental, and emotional pain? These were outstanding examples of the virtue Courage which implies so much more than the more common quality, bravery.
To perform a brave act is commendable, and we are proud and encouraged to see those who pull a driver from a burning car, or save a child from a shark attack. But how many of these would humbly turn aside all the praise and attention people would try to lavish on them?
There are many who will face physical danger bravely, yet who shrink from the need to make a speech to a crowd or confess a wrong they have done, from speaking the simple truth when they have made a mistake, from being the one to convey sad or tragic news, from facing a situation which shows them in a bad light, or from admitting a lack of judgment. These take Courage.
Courage is a calm and persistent bravery in the presence of moral as well as physical danger. It is not the absence of fear, but moving forward in spite of fear because of a firm belief that by so doing, one can make a difference in the world.
True Courage is a spiritual quality. It is that priceless strength which inspires loyalty, utter sincerity and unshrinking devotion to that which we know is right.
True Courage as most of us have an opportunity to express it is usually not at all spectacular and so, too often is unrecognized. For instance, it takes little Courage to accuse others, but much to submit patiently to slurs, insinuations, and even accusations and not strike back, even when the accuser is without facts to back up his claims.
Yet, if we are able to withstand such attacks without retaliating, we are also developing other vital character strengths such as Tolerance, Forbearance, and Humility. And we will be a little closer to understanding and following Christ’s guidance to “Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you, That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.”
Copyright © 2020 Lemurian Fellowship
3 thoughts on “Courage, the Inspiring Virtue”
Extraordinary examples of courage from the lives of John Lewis and John McCain. I can’t imagine myself being able to do what they did. Yet, I suspect they are the tip of the iceberg, reflecting innumerable individuals from all around the world expressing high degrees of courage — Michael Thompson being one more excellent example.
I just read a story about a man who also exhibits these traits. His name is Michael Thompson, and is a mathematics teacher in Nigeria. He suffers from flaccid paralysis, a condition that caused him to lose mobility in both legs so he’s forced to get around on crutches. Once, when he entered a class, and the students saw how gets around, the students mocked his disability when he went to write his name on the board, calling him Crutches. Not even the courtesy to say Mr. Crutches. But, instead of trying to change the students he decided to change his perspective. He played along with the mockings. Each time he’d say, “See, I cannot reach the top of the board.” He also smiled whenever they yelled Crutches. In time, the students stopped looking down on him and grew to love both math and him. His philosophy? “Focus on the things you can control and not on the thing you cannot control or change. Channel your energy wisely.” One man, who Thompson helped study for a standardized test in Nigeria, said at first he pitied him, but the fact that Thompson didn’t see himself in a pitiful situation caused him to simply see Thompson as a man, who was also full of love and passion. To end the interview, Thompson said “I walk with the aid of crutches, but that will not stop my dreams of impacting lives and imparting knowledge to people throughout the world.”
A great example, Britt!