True courage

By Steve Nelson
Posted 6/13/19

Courage is something we often wish we possessed more of. Sometimes, when you least expect it, God brings circumstances into your life to inspire you to be courageous for him.

It was a Friday …

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True courage


Courage is something we often wish we possessed more of. Sometimes, when you least expect it, God brings circumstances into your life to inspire you to be courageous for him.

It was a Friday morning; my wife and I had gone to a convenience store to pick up a part for our vehicle. As we neared the exit we were faced with an unexpected crisis. Across the parking lot we saw a car with someone leaning into the backseat, their fist pounding on a person inside the vehicle.

I didn’t have time to react. I only felt a flood of emotions begin to well up inside of my soul as I saw what was apparently a young girl being beaten by a man.

Almost before I could think, the instincts kicked in high speed as words came pouring forth out of my mouth. I yelled so loud it almost startled myself. “Stop it!” I screamed. Rushing across the parking lot toward the vehicle, I stood next to the door as the person who was inflicting pain stepped back, stood up and turned around to face me.

His size and body mass dwarfed mine. “Cut it out!” I screamed.

The anger in his voice compounded by the disdain on his face spoke volumes about the hatred in his heart. “It’s none of your business! Get out of here!” he said.

Not looking for his approval, I returned the reply, “You’ve made it my business because you’ve done it in front of me.”

His next words were a threat promising to beat the living daylights out of me if I didn’t leave him alone.

Realizing the danger I was in, I knew that if I backed down there would be no hope of helping the young woman he was abusing.

I looked him square in the eyes and said, “If you do that it will be the last thing you do before you go to prison.”

Standing next to me, my wife tried to rally her support, but his anger was so great it seemed like an impossibility to turn the tide of emotions that was reeling from his hateful heart. In the backseat, a young girl was weeping and her grandmother in the front seat echoed the abuser’s tirade, telling us this matter was none of our business and we needed to stay out of it.

Often family dysfunction goes so deep that everyone participates in the dynamics of abuse.

A young girl is beaten because of something she says or something she won’t do and everyone rallies behind the abuser. Why? They’re afraid if they don’t his anger will be released on them.

What seemed like an eternity was probably only a few minutes before the store manager came out to see what the commotion was and asking what they should do. “Call the police,” I shouted.

There are no passive Christians. You can’t serve Jesus without actively enlisting in heaven’s warfare against the onslaught of evil. Doing nothing is still doing something and when you see someone who is being abused or hurt you have a responsibility, a moral imperative, to take action — to do everything within your power to intervene.

You may not feel comfortable with getting involved, but certainly the person who’s being hurt is not feeling comfortable either. It’s not up to us to decide if we should act.

We are commissioned to defend and shelter the defenseless victims of abuse. God expects his children to help others when they are being hurt — to act as we would want others to do if we were in their shoes. When you speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves you echo the words of your heavenly father who says, “I love you so much that I gave everything so that you could live!” Covenant today to live your life so others can see in your actions a connection to God’s transforming love.


(Steve Nelson pastors the Powell and Cody Seventh-day Adventist churches.)