The only kind of courage that will sustain us in truth and love comes from our identity as sinners saved by grace. When you forget that you need your courageous, prophetic message about Jesus as much or more than anyone else, your courage appears to others as mere arrogance.
Courage to repeat the same old failed approaches is foolishness. Being hated by the world doesn’t necessarily prove you’re courageous. You speak boldly about marriage and abortion. Good! Now devote the same courage to fighting racism and averting war. The church has not always done so, and the consequences have been devastating for both the church and the world. Don’t be surprised if the world prefers a bad solution when we offer no solution.
Courage is more than countering the culture, more than saying no to the world. We pray for those who persecute us. We love our enemies. We seek their prosperity, now and especially forevermore. But if they can’t see the compassion in our courageous stands, we appear to them as just another power-grabbing interest group. If you don’t communicate in a way your neighbors can hear, you may not love them so much as you enjoy the satisfaction of rejection. Courage may in fact be your blind spot.
Consider this: what have you done to make your church a welcoming place for neighbors not like you? You may criticize churches that have adopted the cultural idiom and downplayed the fear of God. But invite your neighbors who don’t normally attend church and see your church service through their eyes. What isn’t explained? Who isn’t introduced? What words need translation? Remember, we want unbelievers to contend with the foolishness of the cross, not our religious jargon. If they leave confused, don’t pat yourself on the back thinking, They just can’t handle the truth.
So what is your courage?