My first reaction to the film Courageous was simply “Wow!” I have been mostly disappointed in films from Christian production companies who although having great messages seemed to lack the professional production qualities and storytelling of most mainstream films. Courageous was high quality and a great story. At this point in my life I am facing the tough challenges of manhood and fatherhood and especially the challenges of raising a foster son who I think the world of. This film hit some of the key issues that men face in this world: stepping up to be spiritual leader in the home; live a life of integrity and most of all being courageous enough to face the challenges that we face.
I am amazed at the incredibly huge moral and spiritual void that exists in our culture. The film highlights the fact that a myriad of social problems including teen pregnancy, abuse, and drug abuse have an all too common factor of an absent or abusive father. The main characters being policemen, see the effects of this issue constantly in their line of work. What hits deep is the challenge that the absent father can affect even their own home. The big question is how does a man step up and be the man that God desires? Adam Mitchell looks all the world as a classic “good” man. The truth of the matter is that he neglects his son – someone who will some day need to avoid the trap of being an absent father. The young officer struggles with the guilt of not stepping up to be the father of his daughter that was born out of wedlock. The challenges are great, but I see the answer is back to the Source. God is our perfect Father. In his strength we gain the confidence to step up and engage with our children.
Integrity is an ideal that no one can fully attain. How do we do things when “no one” is looking? Integrity is difficult to maintain and so easy to lose. Shane looks all the part of a stand up man. He risks his life for the protection of others. The first half of the film projects a man who has flaws, but looks like he's on the right track. Sadly, this is not the case as it is discovered that he has been selling the confiscated drugs that the police collect. This ends tragically for him. How does a few dollars add up against your reputation, your family and your freedom? Do we undermine ourselves in some way in which we will pay dearly? Conversely, Javier faces his integrity challenge bravely. Coerced into possibly lying to keep his job he decides to do the moral thing. The cost is great as he has worked very hard to get this job. The beautiful part is that it is in fact an integrity test that he passes. He not only doesn't lose his job but in fact gets the promotion. Not always do we come out this good for living for integrity, but again what does it give to our families and how does it represent the God we love?
Courage of course is what this movie is about? How do we find the courage to lead our families, stand up for what's right and live with integrity? Within us needs to be courage. To be honest one of my biggest fears is what other people think of me. I think that this is a common issue. But what does one do to combat that? With the truth that we are God's children. We have the power of the Holy Spirit within us to live courageously. At the alter call scene of the movie, the questions are asked (Who is going to step up?) and rhetorically answered with “I am”. This is a challenge that we won't fully live up to. The bigger question is would you do it even when it doesn't work out nicely? Is my view of God big enough to see that it's a battle that we're living out and our lives and our family's lives are at stake. I think that when I wake up to this reality I'm motivated. Slowly I'm seeing that fear paralyzes me and that what I fear is much bigger that what reality is.
The film has impacted my life. I am blessed to know that several of my friends at work have started a men's Bible study. God seems to have ordained it best for men to come along side other men to help them along the way. I feel that these guys have latched on to this truth and are running with it. So it is my hope that all of us will be courageous in this world.