In World War II Desmond Doss, a noncombatant military medic, rescued 75 men while operating under enemy fire.
Mother Teresa started a home for poor and homeless individuals in Calcutta, helping underprivileged persons to survive and thrive.
Juliane Koepcke, a 17-year-old girl, survived a plane crash, falling 10,000 feet from the sky, then survived 11 days in the Amazon jungle. Alone.
The Bible is full of courageous luminaries. Abel standing up to Cain, Noah building the ark, David confronting Goliath, Esther saving her people, John the Baptist speaking to power. And of course the quintessential example of courage: Jesus dying on the cross.
Courage includes the readiness to do small and big things that can positively impact the world. It is daily action performed with bravery and determination. It is standing up, speaking up, and helping out to make a difference. It is the willingness to face a terminal illness, danger, difficulties, and opposition with a spirit of resolve and fortitude.
An admirable quality that can be nurtured and developed, courage is that internal capacity that urges us to do the right thing according to a higher conviction.
Courage research reveals there are at least four types of everyday courage, which can be remembered by the acronym DIME.
Disciplined courage operates for noble purposes and remains deliberately and strategically steadfast, despite anticipated setbacks and failures.
Intellectual courage is motivated by an understanding of lofty principles, educational and ethical teachings, moral absolutes, and compelling convictions that lead us to challenge old assumptions or current practices.
Moral courage is inspired by righteous indignation that inspires us to stand and speak out when we see basic human rights violated, injustices perpetrated, and people treated unfairly.
Empathetic courage is acting altruistically and intentionally on behalf of others to help them realize their hopes and dreams, despite having to move away from one’s personal bias and class-centric orientation.
Whatever type of courage you may need to exercise, there are some helpful principles for how it can be nurtured and grown.
Foundationally, courage flows from character. Character is who you are and encompasses the values and principles you believe in. Paul outlines the building blocks of character in Philippians 4:8: thinking and acting on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. These are the characterological qualities that cultivate courage and provide a platform for the believer when the moment comes to act courageously.
Regardless of the outcome, courage materializes when we purpose to do good because it is the right thing to do, and it has the potential to make the world a better place. Let us embrace opportunities to affirm and support courageous words, acts, and causes. Accept the challenge to develop your courage capacity today.