Out of the Abundance of the Heart: A Moment’s Courage

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

OK, I admit it. I’m a cop show buff. I especially love a good whodunit. The Brits are the experts in this area, and one of my current faves is a very British show called “Endeavour.” I enjoy the characters, the stories, and the Sixties setting. I don’t, however, expect to get profound spiritual or philosophical insights. That is until the last episode of the most recent series. As the story moves to its conclusion with an impending violent confrontation between dirty cops and the good guys, we see Chief Superintendent Bright sitting pensively by the bed of his terminally ill wife. He is a very proper, older officer. Bureaucracy, position, and tradition are his comfort zone. Retirement is not that far down the road. As he contemplates how to respond to what he knows is about to happen, he says this, “A moment’s courage or a lifetime of regret. That’s always been the choice.”

That statement has stayed with me ever since I heard it. I couldn’t help but think of all the small moments of decision in life that have such huge ramifications later on.

  • A moment’s courage for a young person to say, “no!” in the face of pressure to go along to get along.
  • A moment’s courage for the addict to reach out for help instead of resignedly acquiescing to the pressure of habit.
  • A moment’s courage to walk away from familiarity and security to follow calling.
  • A moment’s courage to admit failure and receive correction.
  • A moment’s courage to do the right thing when compromise (cowardice?) seems easier.

I’ve always wondered about the folks who say that if you have faith you won’t have any fear. I understand what they mean. Faith and fear seem to be opposites. But the truth is, every decision to do the right thing requires acting in spite of fear. If that’s not true, then there is no real virtue in doing it. Anybody can do what’s easy.

Somebody Said: “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor..” Aristotle

Scripture Reading:They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” (Mark 6:50 NLT)

Here’s the Point: Certainly, we all make mistakes, fail to answer the call, drop the ball, or whatever you call it. Certainly, the blood of Jesus washes us clean. He holds no grudges. But there are other consequences to taking the easier, softer way: Missed opportunities, damaged relationships, and the like. But in this quote, the emphasis is not on the tangible results. The thing that makes timidity in the moment of decision so destructive is the damage it does to the soul. Regret is corrosive to self-respect. Given the choice, take courage. You’ve got it in you. You won’t regret it.

Virgil Stokes

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