Courageous Love: What does it mean?

Has a friend or family member ever told you such things as, “You need a bath”, “You need to brush your teeth”, “Your hair is not combed”, “Your fly is open”? In a purely physical sense, these things embody the idea of courageous love.

This month emphasizes one of the most difficult of all Christian attributes. We all use the word ‘love’ on a continuous basis to mean different things, “I love my car”, “I love my dog”, “I love my children”, “I love my job”. But, when the Bible uses the English word ‘love’, translated from the Greek word ‘agape’, it always includes courage. To tell someone what they need to hear from a heart of concern is a risk. You may risk their anger. You may risk the loss of a friendship. It takes courageous love to say the right thing with the right motive.

Consider the response that Micaiah received from Ahab when he delivered the message that he would die if he went to war at Ramoth-gilead. Even though it was true and for Ahab’s benefit, Ahab became so angry that he put Micaiah into prison until his return which never happened. He died in battle. Consider also the exhortation that God gave to Jeremiah whom he sent to preach what Israel did not want to hear. In Jeremiah 1:8 and 17, He told Jeremiah, “Be not afraid of their faces.”

Our slogan, “The wounds from a friend are true,” is from Proverbs 27:6 where it says, “Faithful are the wounds from a friend.”  Sometimes it hurts us to be told what we need to hear. The majority of folks around us would turn a blind eye to our needs, but one who loves us will tell us the unpleasant truths. Let us be sure we do not refuse the words of those with the courage to tell us the difficult things. Jesus was crucified for telling the truth. Stephen was stoned for loving his brothers enough to tell the truth. Paul risked becoming the enemies of the Galatians for telling them the truth.

It is courageous love that pushes us to evangelize. It is courageous love that keeps preachers preaching the truth when it is not popular. It is courageous love that causes us to be the friend that is willing to rebuke our brother and sister. Let’s be a friend to others, and let’s accept this kind of love from others.

Mike Glenn