Not Without Fear

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It understands cause and effect, it recognizes cost and consequences, yet is undeterred. Where does this kind of courage come from? It comes from knowing what is righteous, that is, what is truly upright and moral. It comes from the knowledge of the clear difference between what is right and truly just, and what is wrong and truly unjust. This kind of courage is willing to suffer whatever difficulties might come one’s way for standing up for what is right in the face of those powers that are clearly wrong in the world.

As a result of the fallen nature of man, the world is full of injustices, great and small. A Christian ought never accept or participate in an injustice of any kind. The scriptures give us clear guidance as to what is righteous and just. In the Old Testament we are given the Ten Commandments as a negative guide, that is, “what we ought not do.” The New Testament give is the positive side of our moral challenge, that is, “what we ought to do.” When asked which of the commandments are the greatest, Jesus responds by defining the Two Great Commandments. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with al your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'” (Matthew 22: 36-40)

Jesus further distilled the Law down to the simple, but profoundly important command: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13: 34) He did not just leave us these insights into the Law of Love and Righteousness, he told us how to live this Law with his words, and showed us how to do this with his life.

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In a world so full of suffering and pain caused by the unrighteous behaviors of human beings, Christians are called to be bold as lions in our own righteous behavior. We can do this only if we know God and his will for us and the world. For this we must read and know the teachings of the Church, encounter and contemplate the lives of the saints, worship, pray always and all ways, and we must study the scriptures and meditate on their meaning for us in the here and now. Only when we know the will of God will we be able to understand and to accept our calling as Christians, that is, to live in the world every day with lion-like boldness born out of righteousness. Only then will we be able to have a genuine and real, Christ-like love for all others, not just our family, our circle of friends, or those who think like us. As we grow stronger in our knowledge of God’s wisdom and as we begin to develop the moral habits of righteousness that are necessary in order to be able to live in accord with his wisdom, we will also grow in our ability to be as bold as lions on behalf of God in this troubled world. As Christians we are called to be Christ’s partners in bringing the Good News of his salvation to this world that is so hungry for it. This is why we need to be “righteous.” We need to grow in righteousness so that we can be as bold as lions as we try to walk in the Way, the Truth, and the Life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Lord, inspire in us a love for you that will make us bold as lions in bringing your Good News to the world. Through our love, help us to turn boldly away from all that divides us. Help us to see your face in all those we meet, especially in the faces of those who suffer from the unjust decisions and acts of others. Give us the grace of your love. Enable us to be righteous lovers and bold instruments of peace and justice in this world. We ask these things believing in the power of your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.