Thursday, March 06, 2008

No More Jellyfish, Chickens, or Wimps (Part 2)

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars---their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death" (Revelation 21:8, NIV).

"Many parents have never even had a conversation with their children about cowardice. Warning against its corrosive nature isn't even usually on our parental radar, or included in many sermons. Instead, most of us are quick to warn our kids to avoid getting too involved (or involved at all) when someone is mistreated because of the collateral damage it may do to them. This is in direct defiance to how Jesus told us to live (see the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10). And we're overlooking the far-reaching damage of cowardice itself: Ultimately, cowardice can be as destructive as drug addiction" (Paul Coughlin, No More Jellyfish, Chickens, or Wimps, p. 29).

"Weak and timid children become parents whose children find them spineless and unreliable. They have checkered employment histories and an obligatory church attendance that fuels cynicism and resentment toward God. These anxious people also wear their bodies out---they're more at risk for hypertension, migraines, intestinal maladies, and other stress-related illnesses" (ibid, p. 117).

In order for our children to have a better chance at living courageously, we parents need to model such behavior. We need to take risks. We need to be more like Jesus. He risked his reputation to help people who could stain it. He spoke the truth with grace, but he did not allow fear of criticism to stop him from speaking truth when it was needed. He did not like to see disciples abandon him, but he did not alter his message or his love for others even when they abandoned him. He had been sent to die for the sins of humanity, and he did not allow fear to stop him from doing so in a manner that honored his Father.

Christ called us to follow him in living life to its fullest. One key to accomplishing our mission is to have the courage to do what needs to be done despite the risks. Through the Holy Spirit, he has given his disciples the help needed to be able to do it. Jesus promised his followers, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20b, NIV).

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