Courage of Conviction

My wife and I visited the Kansas City Negro Baseball Museum recently.  As I looked at the artifacts and read the history it became evident to me there was a common theme—these men had the courage to make a change—they had courage of conviction!

I do not throw the word “courage” around loosely, but the prejudice, injustice, and the possible ramifications the men enshrined in this museum faced, took courage for them to say, “I’m pressing on because I am convicted to this cause”. It also took courage for the people who supported them in their step forward—especially those of a different color.

Their cause of conviction was not necessarily to play baseball as an equal, their cause of conviction was to live as an equal. One quote I read from Jackie Robinson that really had an impact on me was, “I had to fight hard against loneliness, abuse, and the knowledge that any mistakes I made would be magnified because I was the only black man out there… I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect.”

As a people, there has never been a nation that has been more generous or compassionate to the world than has, and is, the United States. We sacrifice the lives of our citizenry, as well as our financial and material resources, to stand against tyranny and cruelty.

Do we, as a nation, have some scars we are not proud of? Yes, we do.

Do we, as individuals, have some scars we are not proud of? I will only account for myself by proclaiming yes, I do; your answer must come from you and your cause of conviction.

Acts 7:58 tells us that a young man named ‘Saul’ had some scars. He received the garments (a reward) of those who stoned Stephen, and he approved of the murder (Acts 8:1). But Saul had a change, a change that would alter his history and the world’s.

He was asked on the road to Damascus a curious question to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) It was curious because he did not know who was asking this question, this was not someone he had ever personally harmed or even seen. Yet, Saul left some scars.

After Saul learned who Jesus was, and understood what he had done, he repented and found conviction as we see in Acts 9:20 with him proclaiming with conviction “He is the Son of God!”, a proclamation for a man of his standing was a certain death sentence.

Paul’s newfound courage of conviction came from one source—his faith in God—his faith in the prophesies of the Messiah—his faith that Jesus Christ is the only savior of the world!

Baseball healed scars; the United States healed scars; each of us healed scars. Are we done? No.

Even after Paul found his courage of conviction he persisted through the worst circumstances never quitting.

Do we have to have courage of conviction to move on despite what is going on in our lives…or when we think of our scars? And more importantly—where do you get that courage of conviction from?

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