A little while ago, my wife and I watched the movie “Act of Valor.” At the beginning, one of the characters says that he fears getting old, because other men would no longer see him as being dangerous. I also recently heard a song on the radio with a line repeated several times in the chorus: “I want to be dangerous.” This got me thinking. What does it mean to be dangerous? Should we be dangerous?
“Dangerous.” This could mean a lot of different things. It could mean you carry a gun and are ready and able to use it. It could mean that you hold political or financial power and can use that to harm your enemies. This kind of “dangerous” boils down to being feared or being able to hurt someone. I think being “dangerous” goes deeper than that, though. One does not always fear danger, but one should always respect it. Being an attorney, one of the first examples that came to my mind of someone who is “dangerous” is an experienced trial attorney. They may not be physically powerful, or have any particular political or financial influence. They probably aren’t armed. And yet, a good, experienced trial attorney is seen as dangerous because of his skill and knowledge. And because of that, he should be respected. That power or skill or knowledge that demands respect is a big part of what makes one “dangerous.” But is respect all that being dangerous is? Why do people with power or skill demand respect? It isn’t just because they could hurt you. It is because they can change the status quo. That change could be harmful, or it could be beneficial. A powerful political figure could inflict harm on his enemies, or he could make changes that benefit everyone. He can oppose a change that he doesn’t want. He could also do nothing. It is that potential to make a change that, I think, is the defining element of being dangerous.
That core element of being dangerous is also why so many people want to be dangerous. One of the basic desires of people is to be significant. Some people manifest this desire by trying to be popular, or rich, or famous. Others try to create something grand – a building, invention, group, or work of art. Some people have a big family with lots of children; others devote themselves to their career. All of these are attempts to be significant. I think the desire to be dangerous is related to the desire to be significant. If you have the potential to make a change that is at the core of being dangerous, then you have the potential to be significant.
The next question I ask myself is what being dangerous means to me as a husband and as a child of God. As a husband, being dangerous means that I have ability to make changes that benefit my family. That means providing and leading. Making beneficial changes also means romancing and loving my wife, and helping our relationship to grow and thrive. It also means having the ability to prevent harmful changes to my family. That means protection; protection from physical harm, and from spiritual attack. These are the basic duties of a husband. So, a husband should be dangerous.
What does being dangerous mean to me as a follower of Christ? The natural state of the world and of humanity is bondage to addiction, violence, and sin. God has made a way for us to be free through the death of Christ. That was the most dangerous act in history, for it has made and has the potential to make the greatest change in life of every person that has ever lived. God has chosen to work out this change through those who follow Him on earth. This makes us the most dangerous people on earth. It also means that Satan will attack us and try to emasculate us, making us ineffective and lukewarm – to make us no longer “dangerous.” Unfortunately, I think that many Christians have lost their dangerousness. So many people just go to church, and do little else. But we are called to so much more. We are called to be set apart and holy – to spend time with and pursue our relationship with God. We are called to uphold other believers – to live life together, to love each other, to support each other, share our struggles with each other, be accountable to each other, to be a community. Finally, we are called to spread the good news of the Gospel to those who don’t know Jesus. Those three things are far more complex than I can describe here, but they are how God has chosen to change the world.
So, I exhort you: be dangerous.