Costly Bravery: Thoughts on Charlottesville

When I first decided to apply to Wycliffe, I ordered myself a thin, rose gold band with five letters stamped into it: BRAVE. I wanted to remind myself that it was good to take this risk, to be brave and apply and maybe not get in, or move across the ocean not knowing a soul, sight-unseen. And I don't think I'm alone in wanting this bravery-- you can find fancily-lettered prints and coffee mugs and sweatshirts that state, "BE BRAVE", or "I AM BRAVE" or just simply declare "BRAVE". We all, it seems, want to be brave. 

Today, in light of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, Sharon Hodde Miller wrote:

Some days remind us more than others that what we are called to is not a cute kind of brave, but a brave that counts the cost.

Here's the truth: my version of brave is more often times than not in the cute category. True bravery that counts the cost is a brave that stands up for what's right, that calls out evil and lays down ones life for the sake of others. Bravery does not shy away from the uncomfortable, or stay silent in the face of sin.

The events in Charlottesville today were horrific. White supremacy, racism, the Alt-Right are all evil. Calling them out is not only the right thing to do, but the necessary thing to do as Christians. We cannot stay silent in the way that feels safe or comfortable or "polite", because the truth is that all these things are antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ, who came to break down barriers and set the captives free and demonstrate to us all that we have nothing special or unique in us that makes us capable of saving ourselves from sin. 

The story from Genesis to Revelation is a story of redemption where all men and women are brought to equal footing at the base of the cross of Christ, equally sinners and equally incapable of escaping sin apart of the righteousness of Jesus. Any blessing throughout all of Scripture, and our own lives today, that God gives is a form of grace-- undeserved, but given nonetheless. We love, because He first loved us. Any bravery and courage we have is rooted in the truth that God is actually the one who makes it so.

In Scripture, bravery does not come from ourselves, or our own strength, but from the Lord:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” 7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
— Deuteronomy 31:6-8

We can be courageous and brave FOR "the Lord your God goes with you"... "and will be with you". And, brothers and sisters, now is the time for real bravery-- the bravery that relies on God's presence to go with us into the unknown. Bravery that speaks up when it's not personally advantageous, but sometimes quite costly. There is plenty of fear in this world; Charlottesville is only one of many examples in our world today. What the world needs now is gospel-bravery, courage that finds itself wiling to call out sin, to name it for what it is (evil and antithetical to the gospel of Jesus and God's story of redemption throughout Scripture), and seek to build bridges and pursue justice for and alongside brothers and sisters in Christ. 

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
— Micah 6:8

Pray for the people of Charlottesville, mourn with those who mourn the loss of loved ones, lift up brothers and sisters in Christ who are on the ground ministering to a shaken up city, pray for the salvation of those in spiritual bondage to white supremacy that they make know that there is only One who can claim supremacy and He chose to give up His life for our sake. Don't go silently, but with that costly bravery that seeks to lift up Jesus above all.