“Courageous” (PG-13)

Ever since viewing Sherwood Pictures’ “Facing the Giants” in middle school at a cousin’s house, I’ve been following their works and have watched their major releases. In addition to “Facing the Giants”, I’ve also seen their major debut “Flywheel” and their more recently well-known “Fireproof”. A small ministry from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, Sherwood Pictures presents inspiring films that ultimately point back to the infinite Creator and our standing before a holy God. “Courageous” didn’t fail to achieve this purpose, and left a lasting impact on my role in my future family and society.

“Courageous” follows the lives of five policemen as they fight crime, especially those related to drug dealers. While trying to remain a family-friendly film, there are extremely dark moments and themes in “Courageous” that earn the film it’s PG-13 rating. The inherent nature of drugs and gang violence, as well as the film’s revolution around the death of a 9-year-old daughter, push this film to the envelope for what most children might enjoy. But the film is riddled with comedy, and I’ve definitely had my share of laughs from the crazy conversations and antics of some of the guys on-screen.

But the ultimate role of the film is to challenge society’s definition of “manhood”. With a worldview in America that trains men in ungodliness, alongside families without a positive male role model due to unfaithfulness or absence, it’s no wonder why our youth have no one to look up to, no one to admire, no one to cherish, and no one to follow in being a man of the Word. The subsequently egalitarian movement causes the male role to be downplayed and some members of society are even hostile towards men that are trying to take that true role laid out for him in Scripture. This film aims to provide the proper picture of a true man and what that means for his family. Partnered with my reading of “Disciplines of a Godly Man” (more on that in a future post), I’ve gained a lot from this film in terms of the different relationships men have.

Firstly, true men have dependent relationships with God. Until a man has a right relationship with God, understanding the sinfulness that he is in and the righteousness of a just Creator, there is no way that he can live up to any standards he may place upon himself. Ultimately it is by the grace of God, found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, His death on the cross and resurrection into eternal life, that one has any hope of changing in becoming a man for the rest of his relationships. We men are ultimately accountable to God for how we live our lives, because we have responsibilities to lead the rest of the relationships that He forms in our lives. He also gives us the power and the strength to live out the rest of the “true man’s creed”, because He sets the example for us in His Son and the criteria for us in the Scriptures.

True men have loving relationships with their wives. In a world where men’s and women’s roles have unified into one and the same, “Courageous” speaks light as to the specific roles of a man in relationship with their wives. They are to love and cherish them, and lay down their very lives for them, as Christ has for His church. Sherwood Pictures exemplifies these glorious truths from Eph. 5 throughout the film, and the importance of a man in caring for and loving his wife. Neither do we fall “into” love or “out of” love; when married, we look “beyond the romance” and ultimately reflecting the beautiful picture of the unification, sanctification, and covenant commitment between Christ and His Church. It’s a wonderful picture and depiction of marriage, and is marriage’s ultimate purpose. See more on this in the previous post regarding John Piper’s “This Momentary Marriage”.

True men have guiding relationships for their sons. In a world that believes in a phase and time called “adolescence”, where a boy conducts his actions like a man without being willing to take the consequences and responsibilities of his actions, it’s important for us as fathers to lead our sons and to “call out the man in them”, as Adam Mitchell puts it. We have a responsibility as fathers to instill these same moral values in our sons, leading them to one day lead their own families in their own household. We cannot simply allow them to live in ignorance and this terrible, false phase of “adolescence” and “rebellion”, but rather should lead and guide them to take responsibility and live out their own calling for their lives in Christ Jesus.

True men have protecting relationships for their daughters. Nathan Hayes works to protect his 15-year-old daughter’s purity, guarding her heart by stepping in the way of any man that attempts to date her. A disrespectful young man attempts to date her, but doesn’t want to deal with her dad, which is a sad reflection of the way that our society’s teens behave today. It is imperative for us as fathers to protect our daughters, ensuring that a man who would respect authority be allowed to court her, because only when he is a man of God and a man of purity should he have the privilege of marrying her, because at that point he too will bear the responsibility of denying himself and laying down his life for her.

True men have accountable relationships with other men. Each of the five men held themselves “doubly accountable” to each other and to each others’ families through signing a list of “Resolutions” (reminiscent of Jonathan Edwards). They promised to fulfill these vows and to hold one another accountable to do the same. Ultimately the sin of Shane Fuller (and the response to that sin from the other policemen) reflects the accountability we as men must have with other men. We need to find other godly men who, like us, desire to pursue personal holiness and to dedicate our lives to raising our families in the ways of God.

The only thing I would have liked to see more of is the reliance upon grace to perform all these duties as a true man. While signing these “Resolutions” (and making it quite an official agreement) is reflective of their hearts, ultimately it’s not the fact that they are accountable to one another or signing those resolutions that they have the power to live in righteousness, authority, and responsibility. It is the blood of Jesus that grants them the grace to live out their duties in accordance to the Word, not anything that they may say, do, sign, or ask others to hold them to. By God’s grace, and grace alone, are they privileged and given the strength to live for righteousness and holiness.

But aside from that small fact, “Courageous” is a herald of truth to a world that has no sense of true manhood, emphasizing on Biblical truths and Scriptures that ultimately make this a film worth viewing for both men and women alike. It paints just a small picture of what true manhood looks like according to God and His Scriptures.

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