Courage Crazy VS True

It takes courage to live a good life, but it takes ‘crazy courage’ to change the world. For better or for worse, it is the crazily courageous ones from Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc. to Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy Inc., that can’t help but change the world around them.

Most Christians don’t usually see themselves as being particularly courageous. Courageous Christianity is often relegated to the ones that get the ‘special calling’ to go to the frontier and work in some remote tribal village or somewhere in Iran or Egypt or Somalia. Other times, courage is associated with witnessing or going on short mission trips. What the movie ‘Courageous’ does best is to bring courage back into the everyday aspects of running a family and living a ‘normal’ Christian life.

When Howard Schultz thought he could sell a cup of Coffee for $4, when a gallon of gas was less than $2, people said he was crazy. Yes, Howard Schultz was crazy indeed. But, he was not JUST crazy. He had a crazy COURAGE to pursue his idea. Lo, and behold! Starbucks was born! This ‘crazy courage’ that the Howard Schultz-like high-stakes achievers have, is premised on the fact that they SEE something others don’t. Schultz’s ‘crazy idea’ has been successful because Schultz correctly diagnosed that urban progressives living lonely lives in a ‘fragmented society’ would gladly pay a premium for the ‘third space’ – the (pseudo-)community experience. Schultz courage was based on the fact that he could SEE something others couldn’t.

Likewise, the Christians in the movie ‘Courageous’ are courageous because that they SEE God in ways people in the Godless society don’t. What is this special way of seeing God that makes them stand out? 

The one attribute that all the men in ‘Courageous’ share is that, they SEE God as the ‘Sovereign Judge’ of all of life. In the movie, this idea keeps recurring often taking multiple forms in the life choices of the Christian men in ‘Courageous’.

1. Nathan admonishes David that he better be ready to face a Just God who’ll see to it that the hurt David caused the girl he impregnated and then dumped, is paid for. (This becomes the segway to present the Gospel – that David did not have the capital to pay for his crime and so Christ lovingly paid it on the cross). Sadly, none told Steve Jobs this truth when he did the same to the mother of his first biological child, the now Ms. Lisa Brennan Jobs.

2. Adam makes the tough call to incarcerate his pal, Shane, who has lost his integrity. Adam then reconciles with Shane explaining that it is not about them but about the Holy God who will judge them all.

3. Seeing God as the Sovereign Judge gives the financially broke Javier the ‘spine’ to not fall in line with the Boss’ crooked plans, even when it meant he would lose his long sought after dream job, and eventually his home too.

4. Seeing God as the Sovereign Judge, who is full of mercy and knows what He is doing, gives Adam the courage to raise his weak hands and thank the Lord for having given him 9 years with his sweet daughter who was hit by a drunk driver (if this scene in the movie does not make you shed a tear, there is probably very few things in life that will make you cry).

Often, SEEING God as the Sovereign Judge causes the modernized to bristle because the word ‘judge’ is often associated with the word ‘judgmental’ which rankles in the ears of the egalitarian society we live in. Ironically, even Christians don’t like to see God as the ultimate judge. Many find it disturbing. During a discussion about God being the judge in a Bible Study group someone said something that amounted to, “I think of God as love. I don’t find it useful to see God as the judge.”

Unfortunately, Christians often forget how God being the ultimate judge makes us truly courageous. Courage, is one’s willingness to relinquish something near and dear. God being the Sovereign Judge, means that God is the ultimate ‘valuer’ of life – God judges the ‘true value’ of people. In the movie ‘Fight Club’, Brad Pitt says, “What you have, will own you”. Even people who agree with this dictum, still have an obsession to possess things. Reason? Possessing things gives them a ‘sense of value’. A Christian who SEES God as the one who ultimately ‘judges’ his personal value, can courageously relinquish his yearning for processions, prestige and power, which non-Christians crave after. This relinquishing is ‘true courage’.

When a Christian realizes that God judges his ultimate value, he will, like Javier in ‘Courageous’, be willing to lose his home and remain poor, instead of colluding with the crooked and get rich. SEEING God as the ultimate judge of his ‘personal value’, gives Javier the courage resist the temptation of illicit riches. The materialistic moto of life, “Get Rich or Die Trying” is a total farce. In the Bible, Joseph saw God as his ultimate valuer which is why he was gladly willing to forgo the chance for illicit sex. Joseph depicted courage in ‘everyday living’ that landed him in prison. He lost something ‘near and dear’ – his freedom. But isn’t this courage to not succumb to the flesh, the greatest sort of freedom? A Christian needs to live everyday lives, by this sort of true courage. This sort of courage shouldn’t be relegated to just mission trips and witnessing to non-Christians.
A Christian who SEES the Lord and the Lord only as the judge of his ‘personal value’, will be freed to be truly courageous everyday of his life. Consequently, this Christian will not care for success in this temporal world. This Christian’s philosophy is the exact opposite of crazily courageous Steve Jobs when he said in a 1984 interview, “I don’t care about what is right or what is wrong. All I care about is success”. The ‘truly’ courageous don’t shoot for success in the eyes of men, they yearn for success in the eyes of God – they see God as the judge of their success. The ‘crazily’ courageous change the temporal, the ‘truly’ courageous affect eternity. Christians belong in the class of the ‘truly courageous’. The movie ‘courageous’ shows how.

Author: Emmanuel R Paulpeter

I am a writer, spiritual director, life coach and a Church Planter who love all things pop culture, theology and spirituality.

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