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  • Writer's pictureRyan Jones

It's not a joke; be courageous.

Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens one or as strength in the face of pain or grief. Do you have courage, and do you use it for others?


When people talk about or reflect on courage in their lives, most often they are recalling the times when they acted with bravery for themselves. I think we all need to draw from this personal well to give us strength to press forward into the future, as we most likely will face more pain, grief, or fear. However, I want you to think of a time of courage when your bravery was for the sake of someone else.


My wife is afraid of spiders, and I can vividly recall the time she showed courage and killed a spider because that spider was crawling next to our infant son. She was super proud to tell me about it. She truly saved our son’s life from the spider that was "going to get him." Though I make light of this brave act, I believe we all need to be more courageous for others.


Forgive me and stay with me as I take a slight tangent, but I promise to bring the points back together.


Recently, I listened to a wise man, someone I respect very much, and he was talking about the world around us and the commandment of bearing false witness. I’ve been reflecting a lot on his words as of late. The root of bearing false witness has to do with lying, but he made the point that it is also not "standing up" for the truth. Many of us are active on social media. How often do we stand up for those being shamed or accused? People’s character or mistakes are publicly shamed. Do we stand up for them? Do we defend someone’s character or just keep scrolling? Do we stand by when lies are being spread, even if the lies are for a good cause? Trust me, I can’t stand being guiltless about my own questions.


Sadly, according to today’s norms, it is "okay" to lie a little on behalf of a good cause. Maybe a white lie to make someone feel good. Perhaps a lie to exaggerate the truth to promote your good cause or your product. Activism is noble and can be courageous, but if you bear false witness to get followers, how is that a good thing?

I, sadly, believe we have lost the courage to speak the truth. The truth might make someone feel bad, guilty, or ashamed. We do it because we fear what might happen. I’m guilty of this, and it is something I am working on. Often, I sit on the sidelines and don’t speak up when I know someone is speaking lies or falsehoods to keep the peace. Blessed is the peacekeeper, right? I have lived with this dilemma too often in my life. One of my spiritual weaknesses is my lack of courage to stand up when I should. I need to be more courageous.


Now, to be clear, my idea of courage does not need to inflict pain or be so defiant to tip the scales of judgement. You can speak your truth, but it’s important to be equally courageous to see from another’s perspective. Imagine, if you will, that a "W" is painted on the ground. One might approach it from an angle that makes it look like an "M". Is this person lying? Not at all. Yet, if they walk around and look at it from another perspective, they see the "W." Imagine the argument and the falsehood of both people demanding they are right and not considering other perspectives. It takes bravery to consider how others might perceive something and to listen to other people’s truths. Thus, people’s own experiences can confuse the waters of truth. Distance and time from an event can confuse our own minds about what happened and our recollection of such an event. I remember doing things that were courageous. Later, to revisit the creek, I jumped over on my bike and thought, "Wow, I remember this creek being so much bigger when I used to jump it with my bike."


I know we must have the courage to see things from other viewpoints as well as the fortitude to stand up for the truth. It will require bravery to tell the truth about people's character when the mob is coming for them. Be grounded in the truth that individuals do faulter and need God's love to be whole. Imagine your own mistakes being on public display. I think it is crazy how people dismiss someone from their lives because they disagree with them on a couple of issues. It takes courage to find common ground. Follow God's design to love one another with courage. Satan's strategy is to split us up because of our differences and to spread white lies to make us feel "good." Take the challenge with me to strive for more courage in our lives and for the sake of our neighbors.


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