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Living as Marked Men #3 – Courage in the Midst of Conflict

July 2nd, 2010 5 comments

During his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced many of the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin. Once, as he censured Stalin in a public meeting, Khrushchev was interrupted by a shout from a heckler in the audience. “You were one of Stalin’s colleagues. Why didn’t you stop him?” “Who said that?” roared Khrushchev. An agonizing silence followed as nobody in the room dared move a muscle. Then Khrushchev replied quietly, “Now you know why.”  (Today in the Word, July 13, 1993.)

Conflict has a way of making cowards of us all. After all, who wants to rock the boat? It’s easier, so we think, to choose the path of least resistance, opting for the path of compromise or all out avoidance.

As Christians, we must consciously choose courage over in the face of cultural conflict, and moral clarity over momentary compromise.

Consider the example of the Apostle Paul. In Galatians 6:17, he writes,

From now on let no person trouble me [by making it necessary for me to vindicate my apostolic authority and the divine truth of my Gospel], for I bear on my body the [brand] marks of the Lord Jesus [the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions--these testify to His ownership of me]!

Paul’s courage in the midst of conflict came with a price. He could point to the battle scars on his body as a reminder of the cost of following Christ. These battle wounds were visible marks of Christ’s lordship in his life. In effect, Paul was saying, “I’ve taken a stand for what I believe. My commitment to what I profess is authenticated by my willingness to endure pain and suffering for the sake of Christ like character and conviction.”

The Bohemian reformer John Hus was a man who believed the Scriptures to be the infallible and supreme authority in all matters. He died at the stake for that belief in Constance, Germany, on his forty-second birthday. As he refused a final plea to renounce his faith, Hus’s last words were, “What I taught with my lips, I seal with my blood.”

Can you say that about your beliefs? The enemy is always poking, probing and prodding to find your price. Is your courage worth more to you than your comfort?

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