What Is Courage?

This past Sunday, I attended a class at my church. During the course of the lesson, the principle of courage was discussed. And as I sat there looking at the word, I had a cool “A-ha” moment. Thanks goes out to Mrs. Needham, my eleventh grade French teacher, for this insight.

Courage. Cour-age.

In my high school French class, we not only learned nouns, verbs, and conjugation, but also the Latin roots for the words we were learning. As I looked at the letters, my mind made this connection: Coeur is the French word for ‘heart.’

Courage. Cour-age. Coeur Age. Heart Age.

When people talk about courage, it is usually in terms of bravery and resilience in the face of danger or opposition.

But what if it is more simple than that?

What if courage is simply our heart maturing with age?

When we are young, our hearts are new and untested and childish—our hearts are immature, so to speak. We don’t always see the big picture. And as a result we sometimes make poor decisions.

But a courageous person could simply be someone whose heart is older and tested and more “grown up”. It has matured over time. It has been around the block enough times to start seeing things for what they really are. Our heart may have been through the wringer enough times that we finally have the guts to stand up for what is important to us. To choose better. We’re past worrying about what other people think. We stand up for our lives—and take action.

That’s real courage.

Maybe high school French wasn’t a waste of time after all.

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