Convicted or Conflicted

by James Washington
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times

I have often thought, heard and to some degree concluded that Jesus, as was Paul, was killed because He dared to stand up and speak truth to power. He and many of His followers, convicted by their beliefs, professed and preached that the ruling religious law of the day, although large and in charge, was indeed corrupt and deserving of renunciation. In my office I have a poster which states, “One man with courage makes a majority.” Until recently, I had never associated this powerful statement with the life and death of Jesus Christ. But the courage of faith coupled with the commitment to act on that faith sometimes leaves you in the unenviable position of being alone.

Have you ever found yourself so committed to a course of action, so positive in your convictions and your resolve, so steadfast in your purpose that nothing could change your mind or your behavior? I suppose we should all be so blessed to at least once in our lives know that we know. Can you now imagine Jesus, so sure, so confident, so right that even in death, He knew that He knew? I must then ask the question of you and myself. What do you know? What does your faith and courage allow you to be the majority of, when numerically, you’re in the minority? The point is that at some time during your faith walk, you will find yourself walking absolutely by yourself. Inevitably, one day, it will become necessary for you, as well as me, to take a position of faith that will perhaps alienate you from so called friends and family, just as Jesus was alienated from the hierarchy of the church of His day. Expect to one day be forced to take a stand based solely on faith.

Maybe it’s already happened to you. I know it has happened to me. On that day you consciously decide to choose the Lord over, or instead, of the world. You know that you know. People who are recognized in this world as having principles and integrity are supposed to be honored for their stances even when they go against popular opinion. The bible teaches us that those men and women of God were often victimized, sometimes ridiculed and often times crucified. The bible also lets us know these are the exact people we should emulate. These people, who are our faith examples, lived lives ‘set apart.’ We’ve all heard the phrase ‘stepping out on faith.’ Reality suggests that this is a very scary, sometimes lonely place to be. The beauty of this spiritual reality is God cannot show up until you step out. Our struggle with faith is one of clearly trying to recognize its power. Without the absolute conviction of the inherent power of faith, we never get a chance to experience the Hand of God at work in our own lives. We’re afraid. It’s probably the biggest fear that we have with the most devastating of consequences; to believe that you know versus, knowing that you know. I will concede that we are put to the test on a daily basis. Do you believe or don’t you? If you do, prove it.

Put some substance behind the phrase, ‘faith based initiative.’ Put some effort behind your vocal commitments. The truth is we so easily sound like it’s a forgone conclusion regarding our faith, when in actuality we shy away from the courage it takes to stand alone and stand for God in this world. My belief is that the first step, the first time, is the hardest. But after that, God takes over and takes us places we could never imagine. From me to you, I wish you the imagination of the saints and faith the size of a mustard seed. May God bless and keep you always.

May God bless and keep you always,


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