By: Gabriela Yareliz
Recently, I saw someone write that “courage is a blessing.”
A fact in human history is that there are people who have the audacity to do some pretty terrible things or to tell bold lies. We need more people who have the courage to do the right thing. Those who don’t discard integrity, but cling to it. Those who aren’t shut in by the circumstances, but those who step boldly outside of them and forward into a different future.
I had already been thinking about this when I started reading Uprising by Erwin McManus (2003), which had been on my Kindle for ages. He examines the principles of humility, courage and integrity and how they all intersect. I am sure this is not a coincidence. “The quest for honor begins with a humility that leaves us empty. This is not an emptiness that makes us hollow, but a humility that makes us teachable,” he writes.
He writes about the people who have had courage but use it to do bad things that hurt themselves, others and society. McManus explores the concept that, often, we use this idea of being “authentic” to act boldly on impulses. “Our prisons are filled with men and women who acted on feelings and impulses. If authenticity is about being true to yourself, these individuals should be our models of inspiration.” And yet we know that’s not true– authenticity and true courage are more complex than just acting. He stresses that, “Authenticity without integrity is lethal. To be authentic when our hearts are dark and corrosive is equivalent to opening a Pandora’s box.”
So, what does it mean to have integrity and be authentic? “Integrity is the context from which courage is formed. Integrity, like wholeness, is a by-product of our spiritual integration,” McManus writes.
What happens when we have integrity? “How we live becomes a genuine expression of what we care about. We are no longer guided by laws, but by values. While religion works to strain our actions from the outside, God always works from the inside out.” We aren’t motivated by the thoughts of others but rather by the desire to have God’s image shining through us.
Why should we walk in integrity? We are imitators of Christ. “That Jesus walked in integrity at all times, even when it cost Him His life, was the ultimate proof of who He was. When we are defined by integrity, we respond with moral courage. Courage is the ultimate expression of integrity. Integrity gives us the courage to walk in truth even when it means walking straight into the mouth of the dragon.”
I have been thinking a lot about integrity, humility and courage. McManus writes the truth when he states, “When we lack integrity, we live in fear.” Nobody has time for that. Forget the fear. It’s time to build our expression of courage. Life demands it.
God demands it:
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:7-9