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Cowardice is easy; courage is tough.

A story is told of a loudmouth who swaggered into a bar and announced, “They say the guys in this place are tough.  Show me one of your ‘tough guys’ and I’ll show you a coward!” A hulking brute of a man stepped forward with a deep scowl and said, “I’m a so-called ‘tough guy.’”  The loudmouth sized him up and down then said, “Well, then, sir…I’m a coward.”

Cowards like that are easy to spot.  In most of life, however, cowards are a little harder to see. 

Last week, we started seeing the response of the crowd to the man born blind.  The Pharisees, so determined to prove Jesus as a sham and a charlatan, began to doubt this man was born blind.  If you can’t disprove the miracle, disprove the need for the miracle.  So, they sent for this man’s parents. 

We pick it up at John 9:18-23:

They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”  

John 9:18-23
New International Version

Imagine being a parent whose child was born without the ability to see—to see your face, to see a sunrise, to see the odd beauty of lightning sparking across the sky.  Wouldn’t you give anything for your child to see again?

Then imagine one day, your child—as an adult—walks in your door and says, “I can see!”  How would you feel?  Wouldn’t you be willing to walk over glass to thank the One who healed your child?  Apparently, these parents did not.

When they were questioned by the Pharisees, the parents verified the man was their son and he was, in fact, born blind.  Then, rather than confess it was Jesus who did this, they cowered in an emotional corner and threw their son under the bus driven full speed by the Pharisees.

“He is of age; he will speak for himself”(verse 21).  This was their answer.  Was it true?  Yes.  But Scripture tells us why their response was based on cowardice: they were afraid they would be put out of the synagogue (verse 22).  Translation: they would have been excommunicated by their religious leaders.  So, they skirted around the truth and gave them their son to tear apart.   

Before we remove the speck from their eyes, let’s clear out some logs from our own:

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  • When a friend or family member asks you about your faith, do you confess it was Jesus setting you free?  I don’t mean “God”, I mean “Jesus”.
  • Do you openly and freely give Him all the glory for what’s happening in your life, or do you hide the glory under a shroud of political correctness?
  • When you vote, do the convictions of Scripture move your hand to a certain box or are you more moved by the political aspirations of your own heart?
  • When you feel your blood pressure rising over something, is it rising over an issue of moral significance or selfish ambition?
  • When you speak of the hot button issues of our day, are your convictions driven by Scripture or society?
  • How many times have we, in the name of some kind of misguided definition of “love”, NOT told someone the TRUTH because the truth might actually offend them even though as Jesus said, it will set them free (John 8:32)?

I fear, brothers and sisters of faith in Jesus, we are rendered powerless because we are the loudmouths walking into the bar called the world, shooting off our mouths. Then when challenged, we back off as cowards instead of moving forward in HIS power.

Courage is based on faith in Jesus; cowardice is based on fear of people.  Oh, sister and brother, we are on the winning team!  “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).  We are free; let’s live like it!