2010-03-04 / Church

Minister’s Message

Courage Looks Different than We Think It Does
By Rev. Linda O’Neal of Lexington and Blue United Methodist Churches

Lent is forty days long (not including Sundays) and began with Ash Wednesday, February 17, this year. Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness preparing to begin his ministry and at the end he was tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12 & 13; Luke 4:1-13) The term “lent” comes from an old English word that simply means “spring.”

During Lent, people prepare for Easter by praying, fasting (or other forms of selfdenial), repenting and almsgiving. This is sort of a spring-cleaning of the soul, but has largely gone out of fashion these days. Our culture is more likely to admire an action genre movie star with several divorces and an excess of arrogance than it is to admire a humble Christian who takes seriously setting aside time for prayer and who is willing to confess a sin.

As much courage as it takes to be a soldier or an officer of the law, ten times more courage is needed to look honestly in the mirror and confess ones shortcomings. Arrogance, bullying, grandiosity and posturing may look cool and brave, but that is actually the behavior of a coward. Our culture may reward arrogance, but it is not good for the soul. Arrogance makes us highly anxious as we constantly strive to prove ourselves.

Humility may not be popular, but it is so much easier to live with day by day. And it is wonderfully peaceful. However, the path to peace ALWAYS requires considerable courage. Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is the victory over the conflict in the soul that comes from repentance, confession, atonement and forgiveness.

We all want to love and be loved. The world tells us if we can convince others of our worth then we will have the friends and spouses we want. The truth is that relationships based on arrogance don’t work, not between people and not between people and God.

Only God has the right to be arrogant, and instead he humbled himself to come to us in the

form of a slave. (Philippians 2: 6 & 7) God is smarter than we are.

The Lexington Ministerial Alliance is coordinating these Ministers Messeges. Any pastor in the

Alliance may submit an article. Please email your artical to Rev. Linda O’Neal,

the Alliance secretary at mchurch@reveillebroadband.com.

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