"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love" (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV).
In May, a massive earthquake struck China, causing the deaths of nearly 70,000 people. While many heroic actions took place among the brave Chinese people to rescue the victims, one man's cowardice has gained international attention.
Mr. Fan was teaching in a secondary school when the earthquake started. He advised his students, "Stay calm. It's an earthquake." Then, he ran out of the building as quickly as possible with no regard for the welfare of his students. He did not look back. Explaining his actions, Mr. Fan said, "I have a very strong sense of self-preservation...I have never been a brave man and I'm only really concerned about myself."
Mr. Fan's explanation penetrated to the heart of cowardice and courage. His self-centeredness led to cowardice. He would not take a risk on behalf of others because he did not care about them. His love did not extend beyond himself.
On the other hand, a man of courage is motivated by love for others. He will take risks to protect them or to save them. He will push past his fears for the benefit of the people who need him and depend on him. He cares about the welfare of others.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13, NIV).
(More insight about this story may be found at http://www.cbmw.org/Blog/Posts/Earthquakes-Cowardice-and-True-Manhood.)