Produced by The Kendrick Brothers.
Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. When tragedy hits home, they are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God and to their children?
The Courageous film honours God in its plot and has its foundation firmly rooted in the need to have a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. Although there are hardly any Bible verses in the film, one particular scripture verse is used as the focus. The verse is taken from the ending of Joshua 24:15, “...as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
The film portrays different men, all having different levels of faith and eventually seeing how much they need to have a deep relationship with God. In addition to this, they learn that only God’ s power can help them be good fathers. So the film clearly portrays that only God can help men be godly fathers.
The film addresses important issues modelling behaviour instead of just talking about it - in other words, living out your faith.
It’s a film action-packed with powerful scenes that address how we react to different circumstances in life, such as: joy, grief, loss, disappointment, frustration, betrayal, regret, guilt, poverty, pain and lawlessness. We see each character’s journey of faith and how their faith as fathers impacts their family life.
A question a Pastor asked, in a scene, caught my attention. A grieving father came to him for counsel and the Pastor asked him, “How would you like me to help you?” That is such a helpful and sincere question to ask someone who is hurting. We often don’t know what to say, or say something general like, “If you need help, let me know.” But asking specifically, how the person needs help, enables the person to say what their needs are.
There is a beautiful scene with a father setting the tone for his daughter, in regards to how she should be treated by young men. Her father had a warning for her: Young men want to win your heart, but they don’t know how to treasure it. This made me reflect on how important it is for fathers to teach their sons how to treasure a future wife. The film addresses the reality that so many men, in this sinful world, have lacked a godly father that they in turn, don’t know how to treasure women or teach their sons how to. The film includes statistics about children who grow up without fathers or who grow up in troubled homes. The results are sobering. However, the film shows that it is never too late to become a godly man and father. What I liked is that the film encouraged men to mentor children in need of a father figure, there doesn’t have to be a biological connection.
Although there are scenes of lawlessness, the actions are not condoned or used as entertainment and we are shown discussions on how lawlessness affects the homes of the characters.
When one of the characters wants to make a change in his life, we are shown him turning to the Bible, the foundation of wisdom. The character tells those close to him that he doesn’t want to be a good enough father, he wants to be a good father.
The film shows what our focus should be on, the heavenly realm, eternal life. One of the characters in the film calls himself rich, referring to a nice suit he had just bought. His wife agreed that he was rich but attributed it to his faith, his marriage and fatherhood. This made me think of Colossians 3:1-2, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
The film shows many good conversations about salvation, test of faith, courage, integrity, judgment and temptation and mostly importantly where our hopes is - with God, through Jesus Christ.
The resolution the character Adam calls himself to do, by the grace of God, is powerful. I checked the Kendrick Brothers’ website and saw that the resolution went beyond the film, it’s part of their ministry. The call for men to truly live by the covenant they signed up for with their wives and put their family first is firmly rooted in scripture and the film is very good at depicting this. The expressions on the women’s faces as their husband’s promise, by God’s grace to love, protect, honour and cherish them and their children shows a glimpse of what God intended for marriage and the family unit. I like how the spiritual leadership of the husband was put above the physical protection and financial aspects, because although they are important, if a man doesn’t love the Lord with all his heart, mind and strength - then the rest is lacking no matter what he does. The film shows that this is all a journey, and using free will to seek the Lord is vital for success.
The film showed men from all walks of life: Men with strong marriages, a single man and a man who was divorced.
The most powerful scenes for me were the scenes showing the main characters either praying together, or alone, because a strong man is a man who constantly relies on his heavenly Father for his strength.
Did the film encourage my faith? Absolutely. I have seen it a couple of times. It’s a very powerful film, so I have to prepare myself mentally for it, but I am always happy to have watched it. It’s a film that envokes a lot of reflection for me about the past, present and what the future holds - but then I am always comforted that the Lord has control over what was, is and will be. My job is to stay close to the Lord, as Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Would I change anything about the film? Yes, there are two scenes that are related to the state of the dead. One scene has one of the main characters asking the Lord to relay a message to a loved one they lost. Another scene has another main character reading a note at a cemetery to a deceased person. I have mentioned the scripture verses relating to the state of the dead in previous reviews, and will include them below. The Bible is very clear that the dead do not go to heaven straight away. They remain in the ground until Jesus Christ returns for the resurrection. There is also a scene when a wife to one of the main characters was reading a storybook to their children. Part of the storybook referred to a girl that had a devilish grin. I thought that was a bit weird to include in the film. The story could have been taken from the Bible.
The film ends with a powerful call to action from the main character, Adam, that encompasses what the Lord has called men to do, and which source they must use in order to achieve it. Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not be might, or by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.”
Courageous has a strong focus on biblical values, such as the marriage covenant, and how this union must be prioritised above all else, as stated in scripture: Matthew 19:4-6, Ephesians 5:20-21, Mark 10:6-9, Genesis 2:24-25, Ephesians 5:22-33. There is a strong focus on scripture alone, salvation in Christ alone, the husband as the head of his home and spiritual leader and the recognition of the value of life and blessing in children, with the call to mirror the characteristics of our heavenly Father, as fathers here on earth. The focus on these fundamental Christian values means that this film, like other Kendrick Brothers films, gives glory, honour and thanks to God, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for reading this review, Until next time - peace be with you.
Film Source: I watched Courageous via iTunes but the Kendrick Brothers have a dedicated website for the film: http://www.courageousthemovie.com/
Scripture references for the state of the dead:
Romans 2:6, 1 Corinthians 15:50-55, John 3:13, Psalm 13:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16, John 11:11-14, Ecclesiastes 9:10, Acts 2:29, 34, John 5:25, 1 John 4:12
Source for film thumbnail: http://www.courageousthemovie.com/