For several years, I studied under the late Edwin Friedman. Friedman was a former Jewish Rabbi who had written a significant book on leadership entitled Generation to Generation. This training involved several trips a year to Bethesda, Maryland where he lived. I continue to use what I learned from him both in my work and in my relationships in general.
The late Edwin Friedman spoke of the danger of being a “peace-monger.” This is the person who often interferes with the courageous Dad/Mom or the courageous church leader. This person, according to Friedman, is a highly anxious risk avoider. He described this person as being incapable of taking a stand. This person functions as if he/she had been “filleted of their backbone.” Such a leader may be nice but spineless. Hearing the words, “I’ve never heard anyone in the church say anything negative about you,” only feeds his/her addiction to good feelings rather than God-centered progress.
What kind of courage is needed by believers in general and Christian leaders in particular?
1. The courage to keep your marriage covenant even though the present season of marriage may be far from satisfying.
2. The courage to be faithful to your husband/wife even when you are far from home and fleshly opportunities for sin appear.
3. The courage to speak boldly against the destructive schemes of Satan even when you meet resistance.
4. The courage to gently confront your children when they need your correction – refusing to close your eyes to wrongdoing like Eli did with his sons (1 Sam. 3:13).
5. The courage to practice obedience to Jesus even though the "fleshly" part of you may feel you are being deprived of something pleasurable.
6. The courage to confront materialism and our frantic addiction to constantly “upgrade” our houses, our cars, and our gadgets, while intimacy with God, our spouses, and our children are neglected.
7. The courage to refuse to go along with the great sin in most churches--our silence.
8. The courage needed for leaders to abandon passivity that avoids holding people accountable. Meanwhile, others who are impacted by such avoidance become discouraged and disheartened.
9. The courage to model personal holiness and purity in an R-rated culture.
10. The courage to challenge believers to move toward risk and sacrifice for the kingdom of God instead of ease and a soft, self-indulgent life.