Be Strong in the Lord

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.  (Eph. 6:11)

I recently had a confrontation at the county jail during a veterans’ cellblock dedication. I was in a circle with four other people—three women and a man.  Out of nowhere, the man said, “Well, as I see things—life’s a b…., and then you die.”

I felt like I couldn’t let his comments stand.   I said, “Sir, I disagree with you, and your comments are inappropriate.  This life isn’t the b-word; it’s a gift from God.  Furthermore, I don’t believe that when we die, that’s all there is.”

I knew I needed to cool off, so I walked away and greeted some other people.  After a few minutes, I came back to one of the women in the circle.  I wanted to check in to see if I had made her uncomfortable.

Before I had a chance to speak, she said, “I want to thank you.  I never know what to say when men use the b-word.  And besides that, I agree with you—I believe this life is a gift and that there’s more life to come.  Thanks for speaking up for me as a woman.  Thanks for speaking up for our faith.”

I didn’t go to this event looking for a confrontation.  I did, though, feel compelled to respond to his offensive words.  Enough with incivility.  Enough with the cynicism.  Enough with shrugging off ugly behavior.

Although Jesus wants us to be peacemakers, He doesn’t want us to be wimps.  Just as He sometimes did battle, so we must do the same.

In today’s scripture, Paul encourages us to “be strong in the Lord.”  If we’re going to have the strength and courage to confront the ugliness, incivility, and cynicism that often seems so pervasive, we’ll need to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.”

Reflection Questions:

  1. How might you need to “be strong in the Lord” to do what you need to do?
  1. Is it easy or hard for you to call upon the Lord’s help?
  1. Paul invites us to be “strong in the Lord” so that we can be courageous in our life, faith, and witness. If you become stronger in the Lord, how would your life change?

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