Many of the men who read this blog are familiar by now with the Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng and his difficulty with the Chinese government. He has displayed great courage in his fight for freedom of expression. Chen, who is blind, is part of what is called the “weiquan movement.” It’s a group of lawyers, activists, intellectuals and ordinary citizens who aim to push the boundaries of reform by using China’s existing laws and courts to defend human rights. What is little know is that this group is overwhelmingly Christian. For his efforts, Chan has served 51 months in prison and has been under house arrest. He wants his freedom. But at this time he and his family faces a very uncertain future.
I mention this man and his story, to point out the need for men in our day, to have the courage to stand for what is right and truthful in our culture. Eric Metaxas has written a wonderful book on the German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his willingness to draw a line in the sand when Nazi Germany tried to restrict religious liberty. Many are beginning to see parallels in our culture with the encroachment of the state in the realm of religion. Much of German society, along with a good segment of the church gave in to Hitler. But Bonh0effer like Chen responded to the restrictions on religious liberty by the government at great personal risk. Charles Colson, whose blog I have read almost daily, has now gone to be with the Lord. But in the last years he warned repeatedly about the fact that we are losing our “religious liberty” in this nation. I for one have begun to take notice of this emerging reality, while many “church” men seem to be “asleep” to the eroding of our religious liberties as Christians
As Scott McNight has pointed out on his blog that, “for Bonhoeffer, truth was connected to relationships, and even more to reality, and even more to God’s reality, and God’s reality is found in the truthful Word of Jesus Christ. To tell the truth must mean entering into the reality of God’s Word in Christ in the words we use. ‘What is real is to be expressed in words.’ His (Bonfoeffer) expression for this is ‘living truth.” Men there comes a time when we have to discern if we are standing on solid ground. Solid ground is the truth found in Jesus. This is reality; the way things are. Not the reality as portrayed by many in the media as well as politicans or educators. Standing on the “living truth” in Jesus can make a man courageous.
My challenge to myself as I write this blog is to be a man of courage and stand for the truth as I have come to know in Jesus Christ. As Jesus stood before Pilate he said, “In fact, for this reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listen to me” (John 18:37). Courage means saying yes to what is right and taking the right action even at the risk of pain or loss. A courageous man knows what is right and will stick with the truth. As Metaxas pointed out in a blog, “We’re facing a challenge in America today that’s going to require a good dose of courageous stick-to-itevness. The challenge is defending religious liberty.”
As God’s people were about to go and take possession of the promised land, God exhorted them repeatedly be courageous and not afraid. Moses told young Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Men, we don’t know where the journey will take us in the coming days. There is a lot of uncertainty in our nation. But we are following Jesus along with many other brothers in Christ. We have come to know the truth in Jesus Christ. That is ultimate reality. So let’s go forward as men of integrity, standing courageously for the truth in Jesus.