Courage is often equated with physical acts of bravery. For instance, the heroic acts on the battlefield, the resolve of firefighters and police officers to run toward danger, or even the ordinary citizen who steps up to save others from harm. And certainly these are courageous acts rightly honored. At the same time, often the courage most needed is the everyday courage to keep fighting the good fight throughout our life and relationships.
All too often we assume courage is just for those on the frontlines, or perhaps if we find ourselves facing a life or death situation. Of course, we wouldn’t think twice to do whatever it takes to protect our wife and kids from physical harm.
But it’s often the daily decisions to fight for what’s good that requires the most courage. For example, while it might be heroic to save our family from a burning house, it’s also generally expected for us to at least try to do so. In fact, it would be more shameful if we didn’t try.
What can be harder is the courage it takes to stand against the status quo, to speak up when it’s much easier to stay quiet, and to pursue truth when it’s no longer popular to do so.
To be sure, this courage is grounded in our relationships and community more so than physical acts of bravery. As such, it’s of a different kind because it challenges our identity, status, and connection with others. While physical bravery also flows from our inner strength, this daily relational courage comes with a high social cost as well.
And, without doubt, we allow much darkness and brokenness to reign when we don’t practice this everyday courage in our homes and schools, work, churches, public discourse, and the like.
In the end, courage is not just for moments of physical bravery on behalf of others. It also includes the willingness to fight for all that’s true and good in our everyday life.