Many of the best men I’ve known feel an intrinsic pull to fight. It’s why we see countless superhero and action movies, each with bigger battles, being eaten up by eager audiences and making billions of dollars each year. It’s why boxing matches make millions of dollars as people shell out cash for a pay-per-view pass to see two fighters clash for an hour. It’s why we see swaths of young men addicted to video games through which they can take up their swords/laser guns/lightsabers and become champions in imaginary worlds.
We’re often told our instinct to fight is bad, that we should suppress the fight within us. And this is understandably so, especially when we see it manifest in dark and destructive ways. But it seems we are left in a catch-22. We have a natural desire for “the fight,” but it often turns ugly and destructive.
As good men, what are we to do?
When looking at the story of Jesus, so often I feel we project on Him what we want to justify about our own lives. The violent will say He was a man of war, and the pacifists will say He was a gentle hippie. But what if He wasn’t either? What if He, like us, had fight in Him, but He knew how, why, and where to use it?
Jesus was both a man of peace and someone who stood up to violent authority. He was a fighter and also allowed Himself to be crucified. And it seems to me that when He stood up and fought, it was rarely for Himself, always for a good reason, and meant to accomplish something better that just bragging rights.
Meaning, perhaps our drive to fight is for a greater purpose than just fighting for the sake of fighting. Perhaps we were given this desire and ability to fight for peace and protection. I think to live as good men, we don’t want to deny or suppress something God has so obviously put inside of us, but instead we should learn how best to use it.
Whatever the fight you’re facing right now—big or small, long-lasting or momentary, difficult or easy—know this: God has put fight in you for a reason, and good men are called to hone their skills and use that fight for good.
Do you ever feel like you suppress your inclination to fight, even in healthy ways? Why?