I want to be brave.
There’s bravery that looks like taking a leap of faith, risking failure, dreaming big. That’s all well and good. But, that bravery concerns itself with mainly self, and I’m pretty good at thinking about me.
I want to grow in bravery that goes beyond self: to be brave on the behalf of others. To notice, fight for and defend the deep needs of not just me, but you and her and him.
I saw a video where a woman confronted another woman about her inappropriate behaviors towards two other shoppers. Not only did she approach the loud and belligerent woman, but she escorted the woman away from the shocked recipients of the verbal abuse.
I wish I could say that I saw myself in the bravery displayed by that woman willing to enter into and break up the conflict. But I would not be her in this story. If I’d have been in that store, I would have been one of the countless shoppers not seen on camera, quietly minding my own business, head down, quickly getting away from all the commotion.
And that makes me angry.
I’d probably even go so far as to abandon my shopping needs in that section entirely, deciding to wait for another time, or, if absolutely necessary, going to a different store altogether. I imagine I’d even share some quick concerned, sympathetic glances with others before tucking tail and running. If given the choice to fight or flight–my first response is innately flight.
Always polite. Calm, cool and collected. Nice and quiet.
But, I don’t want this to be my narrative any longer. Perhaps watching the bravery of one woman is all I needed to stir my own bravery. Enough is enough.
Throughout the centuries, silence has kept people suppressed, oppressed and depressed.
“White people are raised to be nice.” I heard a man say, and not as a compliment. He was implying that white people are taught to smile, work hard, keep their noses in their own business and watch out for themselves and their own kind. It’s that fine line that differentiates nice from kind.
And if there’s any truth in that statement, and in my experience there is, than as a white woman I’m a student of niceties from all angles. A double dose of “be nice.”
I don’t want to be nice anymore, and that’s not to say that I want to be mean or bitter or overly critical. But I don’t want to hold my tongue in the face of racism, hatred, injustice and inequality for fear that I might raise an eyebrow of disapproval. Because, honestly, the wrath of judgement I am most likely to catch is not found out there in a cold and cruel world, but within the very walls of the church.
And not every church or every person, of course. Not every one, but I know the judgements of the “righteous.” I know because I am guilty of casting such judgements.
I know because I learned and have clung tightly to the lessons of legalism for most of my life. After all, it’s easier to judge than extend grace; black and white answers to right and wrong are much safer than wading in the waters of gray.
But, life is a series of exceptions to the rules. And, no matter where we look we see our rules being bent or entirely broken by people who are just as deserving of love and acceptance as the “saints.”
I want to be willing to put myself on the line. To raise my voice and, inevitably, disappoint some. Why is it that I fear your disappointment, anyway?
We have too many [popular] faith leaders trying to maintain the status quo of power; one even going so far as to say that we should not risk our relationship with Saudi Arabia by demanding answers, an explanation, as to what happened to the life of [only] ONE journalist.
I just cannot see the gospel in that. Jesus left the 99 for the ONE. The one. He pursues every one. He is Love and Love extends its availability to every one.
Every single person.
There is nothing more important on this earth than people. Not my pride or my social standing or any other status or title man may give, or just as easily take away.
Love God. Love people.
And Jesus proved that love is willing to go to great lengths for others. The greatest length, in fact. Risking it all.
I’ve got a long way to go. But, when opportunity presents itself I pray that I will be brave to put myself on the line for others, to take action, speak up.
Even if only for one other person.
Because, what is more my business than loving people?
“I need no other argument, I need no other plea; it is enough that Jesus died, and that he died for me. Enough for me that Jesus saves, this ends my fear and doubt; a sinful soul I come to him, he’ll never cast me out.” -Eliza Hewitt