Most of our nation paid attention last week to the passing of Rosa Parks - a woman of courage and conviction who took a stand (or a seat) that helped to change our nation for the better. It seems that today's world lacks much of that kind of courage and conviction.
We celebrate those who are "brave" enough to jump out of planes or do other daring deeds, but we are lacking those who are willing to stand alone for the things that they believe in. I know of many athletes who are not scared to do back flips on a four-inch beam or fling themselves 19-feet in the air on the end of a fiberglass pole but who aren't willing to stand alone with their convictions. It is easier and safer to go along with the crowd, to compromise, to give-in.
I tried to emphasize to the SHS guys last week that real courage - the kind of courage that lasts a lifetime and makes a difference - is shown by standing for what is true and right and by not giving in to the crowd. Whether it be in regard to sexual purity, drinking, areas of religious conviction, etc., we need men and women of courage and conviction to influence our world for God and to leave a legacy of changed lives.
One of the saddest passages in the Bible is in John 12. As the enemies of Jesus gather to plan how they might kill him, John gives us this insight:
“Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” John 12:42-43
How often do we allow ourselves to sit in that same place?