“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
I wrote last time about battlefield etiquette. Particularly, how to properly care for the wounded among us on the spiritual battlefield.
This takes courage.
It’s easy to show grace to someone who has been hurt by someone else or by their circumstances.
But it’s much harder to show grace to someone in the throes of addiction or suffering the consequences of their own poor choices.
First, we must get past our initial ‘religious’ instinct to condemn and distance ourselves.
Then comes the hard part – facing all of those who insist on clinging to that religious instinct. You see, not everyone manages (or even desires) to work past that initial reaction. Some people are perfectly happy in their religious reaction.
Often, whether we admit it aloud or not, we fear the condemnation of these people if they see us helping a broken person.
What rumors will start about me? Will I become guilty by association? Will the religious lot suddenly put me in the ‘condemnation box’ with them because I am coming to their side?
The truth is none of these things matter.
The words in Joshua 1:9 were spoken by God to a man who was about to venture into a foreign land and step onto many physical battlefields. If you look through the entire quote (verses 2-9) you will see that God used the term “be strong and courageous” three times (vv 6, 7, 9).
God knew that when Joshua led the armies of Israel out onto that battlefield, he was going to be hit all sorts of opposition. Not only was he going to face sword-wielding adversaries from outside his camp, he was also going to have to deal with criticism-wielding antagonists from within.
God wanted to be sure he knew that if he was doing what God expected of him, he could hold his head up and know God was beside him.
It’s the same for us. We may not be facing savage blood-thirsty warriors who want to split our heads wide open. But we sometimes face assailants who are trying to get into our heads and maybe even soil our reputations – intentionally or unintentionally.
If you are loving people the way God wants you to, though, know that “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” and because of that you can be “strong and courageous.”
Next time I’m going to write a little more about how God has our back, and why we can confidently draw courage through our trust in Him. But for now, let me leave you with a quote from Joe Dallas:
“Courage is not an absence of fear; instead, it is a willingness to do the very thing you are afraid of.”
So don’t be afraid to step out there and help the wounded. Be courageous. He has your back.