"It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."
One thing you must know about me: I am loyal as an old hound dog. I have no frame of reference for short term relationships. All my close friendships have been intact all my adult life, and the new friends I have made...well, something in me refuses to imagine them not being my friends forever. That is how I am wired.
So that day I stood up to my friends, that day I was brave, was no small thing. It meant losing their friendship. Somehow, I instinctively knew that and so did my Preacher.
Nevertheless, I am filled with gratitude for that day I was brave, because it made me who I am today.
When my Preacher revisited the doctrines of grace almost 5 years ago, believe it or not, he was very nearly a lone voice, at least in our circles. No one we knew was preaching it quite like he did. He boldly contrasted living under the law with living under grace. He asserted, with the great apostle Paul, that the law has been made obsolete, and was no longer a source of blessing or favor. He called the New Covenant "the bringing of a better hope"...
...the nerve of him, teaching that Scripture at face value.
Then he exposited Galatians, and it was on like Donkey Kong.
And I picked up my sword (which is the message that the Old Covenant forever points to Christ in the New Covenant, which is the message of the cross, the Finished Work of Christ, who is the Word - the sword - made flesh) and stepped up to the front lines with him.
I said it. I was brave. I wrote it just like he preached it. And what I had to say offended friends - people who called themselves, and we considered them, some of our closest friends. But my Preacher and I are the dearest of all close friends to each other. We have never not been a package deal, my Preacher and I.
Obviously, it was far more than just one day that I was brave. It was a series of days, weeks, and months. But it began with one day. It began with one decision to say what I needed to say - to speak the words that brought the "Amen" to the message of the scandalous grace of God.
My story is nothing compared to the stories of Christians around the world, who are living out being brave every single day, at the cost of more than just a cherished friendship. They confess Christ at the cost of their freedom, their family, and some give their life to the glory of God. I know that my bravery is cowardice in comparison.
I know that.
But being brave has to start somewhere. For me, it started with bringing the "Amen" to the Gospel, in the only way I knew how, using the only tools I had. My words.
I am so vastly...incredibly...profoundly...abundantly...hugely grateful that I was brave. Not many get the chance like I did, to put what felt like so, so much - to put it dead on the line, all for the love of Christ Jesus.
I want to see you be brave...