In Others’ Words: When Courage is the Testing Point

What courage is 2015

There are all sorts of lists of virtues — morally excellent behavior. Some lists are as short as four or seven virtues … some lists go on in alphabetical order.

  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Loyalty
  • Selflessness
  • Trustworthiness

But when all is said in done — whether you limit your list of virtues to four, as the Greeks did — or expand it as we are wont to do today, I think C.S.Lewis got it right: every virtue demands courage. At some time or another, we must decide if we are going to stay true to our beliefs. We must decide: Do I truly value this virtue — even when no one else does?

  • Am I brave enough to stand up for honesty when everyone else prefers the lie?
  • Am I willing to show kindness when others are siding with a bully? (And we can all think of times when that has happened.)
  • Will I remain loyal … when there is more benefit to me to walk away?
  • Will I remain trustworthy even if no one’s around to see me do the wrong thing — or to give less than my best?


Courageous choices not only shape who we are, they show who we are — what we believe. 


In Your Words: I started a small list of virtues today — what would you add to the list? When has courage helped you live out a virtue you believe in?

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  1. October 15, 2015, 7:17 am   /  Reply

    On thing I’d add to the list is “willingness to delegate”. Giving someone else a chance to shine – while being responsible for the results if things go wrong – is something that many try to avoid, or they delegate in limited, self-protective ways.

    I have never thought of myself as having a particular courage; it’s usually been more a disdain for consequence, or the realization that someone had to do something unpleasant in a limited timeframe.

    Oh, I have an example. Cleaning the filters on the tank that holds Barbara’s snapping turtle. THAT takes courage, and it’s a job I try to duck as often as I can.

  2. October 15, 2015, 12:12 pm   /  Reply

    I’d add forgiveness. So many times we hold on to anger and grudges and it definitely takes courage to forgive. But how can we not when Christ died so that we can be forgiven.

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