Saturday, February 19, 2005

Courage

I'm preaching on courage from Acts 4 in the morning,
God willing. And so this passage from Clifton Taulbert's
fascinating little book entitled Eight Habits of the
Heart: Embracing the Values that Build Strong Families
and Communities
(Penguin, 1999) came to mind:
"Courage has many faces, speaks a thousand languages,
and lives all over the world, but I believe it looks the same
to everyone. . . .

"It takes courage to stand up to the person who spreads
false stories about you; to the boss who demands favors
in exchange for a raise; or to the fellow student who
plagiarizes your work. It takes courage just to keep doing
what you're supposed to do every day when the return
seems small but others are counting on you. And it also
takes courage to keep your gaze on what is right when all
around you people are padding their expense accounts,
deceiving their spouses, or cheating customers, using
'everybody's doing it' as their excuse.

"Courage always involves risk. Fighting for your country
or standing up for social justice can cost you your life.
Standing up to the boss can cost you your job. And
standing up to your peers can threaten your social
standing. But courage also reaps rewards, not only
for those who practice it but for those who witness it.
For those who practice it, courage always confirms your
own value. And when others observe your courage, the
whole community is stronger, for other people can draw
strength in the midst of their troubles from the example
you have set." (pp.85-86)