Chaplain Deron McDaniel, M. Div
Princeton Baptist Medical Center
“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)
This past week, we celebrated Veteran’s Day and I can’t help but reflect on my time in the U.S. Marine Corps. I recall, during Basic Training, how we were taught to be courageous, especially in times of challenge. Courage is not something you buy, it’s something you are. True courage comes from within. Courage is defined as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger or pain without fear; to be brave. It seems that the Apostle Paul was saying as much to the church at Corinth, a church which struggled with many things internally that threaten to weaken her witness in the World. It is possible to allow circumstances and situations to press us so that we become weak and discouraged rather than courageous.
The Apostle Paul’s words, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong,” resonate with our times. There is so much going on; political unrest, violence in the street, racism and war. We are not to take these words as war cries nor as a time to identify and destroy our enemies. Rather, we should view these difficult and trying times as opportunities for growth and reconciliation. No, we are not to become hostile or mean. We’re to face these times with courage. We are to listen courageously to understand and be understood. We are to work courageously to resolve conflict and to build and preserve relationships. The Apostle Paul goes on to say “Do everything in love.” Courage is to be demonstrated in love. Without love courage is disconnecting and disingenuous. The courage that is needed for these times is engaging and honest. It is careful and compassionate. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be”. For this to be accomplish, courage and love is needed. I believe we’re all capable of being better and doing better, but it will take courage and love. Let’s begin today.
Prayer: Kind and Gracious God, thank you for these times that call us to be courageous in love. Help us to see them as opportunities for change and reconciliation. Help us to do our part until all of us are what you desire for us to be. In of name of Jesus. Amen.