Courage and honour

Hatfield Church Blog 6 Comments

By Daphne Balinda Ketter, mother of three and a humanitarian who values growth in Christlikeness …

Recently I watched the movie The Last Samurai. Appalled by the violence, I wanted to switch it off, but I was also intrigued and kept wondering what the message was. I eventually got the gist of it. It is about courage and honour.

I deduced from this movie that Samurai are fierce Japanese warriors who hold a tradition of courage, honour and strict discipline as a way of life. They train from a very young age, eat healthy, invest in meditation and do not overindulge. They strive to attain virtues such as rectitude, courage, benevolence, respect, honesty, honour and loyalty, and apply them in their daily lives. They value seeking higher wisdom in everything. They live usefully, are hospitable, give generously and know the value of forgiveness. These warriors keep honour amongst their ranks,  even with fellow Samurai from opposing sides. They are magnanimous enough not to disgrace a fallen Samurai but give the opponent a chance to end their life in honour. They consider life a gift, but are not afraid to lose it for a worthy cause. When fatally wounded or captured by the enemy, they are offered a sword with which to stab themselves in the gut as a chance at dying honourably at their own hands. Their swords are kept sharpened, shining and ready.

As Christians, we are admonished to attain the fruit of the Spirit, which are cardinal virtues. We are at war with the enemy of God and humankind, therefore we must be of courage, and honour God and the weapon He has entrusted to us – His Word. Our honour is in His Word. Like the Samurai, we are warned not to love and value our lives above Jesus Christ. Hence we must consider holding onto the sword of the Spirit (God’s life-giving Word) and impaling ourselves on it for honour. Holding fast to the Word promises to bring us honour (1 Corinthians 15:2).

Our courage comes from knowing Who fights for us (Deuteronomy 33:27) and the authority Jesus Christ gave us, abiding in Him (John 16:33), and mastering the weapons of our warfare (Ephesians 6:11-13). Courage gives us confidence in the face of intimidation and great challenge. As Mark Twain put it, Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it. There are many examples of acts of courage in this world and in the Bible:

  • Some risked their lives to do what is right (Exodus 1:17).
  • Others risked their reputations to do what is right (Luke 23:50-51).
  • Christ’s followers were bold in representing Him (Acts 4:31).
  • Courage grows through trusting God (Joshua 1:9).
  • It grows when we serve a worthy cause (Mark 15:43).
  • Courage comes from the presence of God (John 14:27-29; 16:1-4; 16:9-11).

The knowledge that Jesus already obtained the ultimate victory for us and that He will never leave us, should give us courage for troubled times.

Honour is deep respect, devotion and a reputation worthy of praise. Just as the Samurai spend time burning incense and seeking higher knowledge through meditation, Christians are required not to only read the Word of God (the sword of the Spirit), but also to train in all virtues and give honour to God. Ezra 7:11-28 tells us that all who honour God will be honoured.

We also learn that it is better to give honour than to receive it. The godly way is to love God’s creation. In Romans 12:10 (NLT) Paul says, ‘Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.’ When we courageously fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, for the advancement of the Gospel, against injustices, and for those in bondage, we put others first and thus honour God. God then honours us with favour, victory and eternal life.

God commands us to honour our parents, with the added promise that we will live long, full lives in the land the Lord gives us (Exodus 20:12). This means treating them well, obeying them, and showing reverence to them. We are required to be respectful towards our parents, even if their behaviour does not deserve it and to only disobey them if incited to disobey God. Since this is the only commandment with a promise, it means parents have a special place in God’s heart. When we honour them, we honour God and He will in turn honour us.

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