Every day we brush shoulders with people who can only make it through life by showing tremendous courage. They live in the disadvantaged communities of Cape Town (Masiphumelele, Red Hill, Ocean View... and others). and face danger and deprivation as a way of life, yet they are rich in love, dignity and joy. They have chosen to follow Jesus, and though they look to Sally and me for leadership, they are the real men and women of courage. I wonder how I would do if I lived in a one room shack? Or my father threatened to disown me if I did not offer sacrifices to ancestors? Or I was a single mom who had to hide my children from an abusive former husband who threatened to take my children while I was at work?
Today I will take 10 young men and women of courage to see a movie about another man of courage, Nelson Mandela. For some, it will be the first time they have been to a theatre to see a movie. I have spent ten wonderful days with these young heros of the faith, teaching them and mentoring them in the ways of God. Now we will take some time to celebrate.... it is one way we want to bring some Christmas joy to them.
We will see the movie Invictus, a captivating look behind the scenes when Nelson Mandela was the newly elected president of South Africa. Very inspiring - and a way of seeing life the way we see it almost every day in South Africa. It is a new nation now, no longer under the apartheid regime, but the living conditions and racial struggles are the same.
To give some biblical context to the subject of courage I want to share a few insights from the New Testament book of Acts. I am reading Acts again these days, slowly journeying along side Peter and John and the other apostles. I am inspired by their lives...I hope you will be as well. Below are a few truths about courage from Acts chapters 3 and 4.
Courage is the willingness to act on one’s convictions no matter the cost. It is the willingness to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, even rejection, sometimes great pain, without being overcome by fear or being deflected from one’s course of action.
Boldness is acting in the face of rejection or misunderstanding (“with all boldness they will speak your word” = 4:29). Courage is an inner attitude of heart, and boldness is the action we take to put our courage into words or deeds.
- Seek to obey truth no matter the cost
- Strive for change based on what is true or right
- Speak up about one’s convictions
- Spurn temptations to be compromised
- Stare danger in the eye
- Search for the fear of the Lord with all one’s might
- Single eye on the vision God has given you and invite others to follow