Paul’s list of fruits of the Spirit does not speak of courage or integrity, but they are most definitely a fruit of that which is highest and best in our lives. Here is the Serenity Prayer in it’s entirety,
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Dr. Keshavan Nair,
With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.
I had not heard of Dr. Nair and did not know of him at all before I found this quote about courage, but it so spoke to what I wanted to bring out in this post that I had to look him up. He is apparently an inspirational speaker for fortune 500 companies. With that particular quote I can see why he would be in demand. It says a great deal in a very few words.
Courage is indeed the foundation of integrity, for it takes courage to speak when others hold the opposite opinion yet, you know the truth. It takes courage to speak when you are wrong and it will hit your hip pocket to say anything because no one knew but you. It takes courage to speak when the facts you must present are the opposite of what you want them to be. It takes courage to stand alone. It takes courage to be part of a change that needs to happen.
Most of us have a “comfort zone”. Hopefully it’s within the bounds of love, peace and joy, but when we must leave that comfort zone because duty or life makes that call, no matter where that comfort zone lies in the scheme of things, it takes courage to leave that and move into a new zone. Even when our lives have been messed up with drugs or alcohol, we are in a type of comfort zone in that it is a familiar place. We know the “rules” here, if we leave this “place” we will be on unfamiliar ground. But, if we want to live a better life, if we want the voices we hear to be of clearer and cleaner source, we must leave the familiar, and dare to change our lives. Believe it or not, that takes as much courage as mounting an expedition to the antarctic.
One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.