A punch can hurt of a little while – but limp shoulders with hands in pockets can do greater damage in the long run.
Think about this, a fistfight has a few outcomes… you might end up with a bloody nose or black eye, maybe a scar and a story. Shoot, I have had my fair share of fights, scraps, and beatings. I’ve been jumped, had my teeth kicked in, my eyes blackened and my nose broken and years later I am fine. Well my nose is still ugly.
But in the long term there is a feeling of courage, self esteem, a willingness and the knowledge that you can stand up for yourself and protect others. That knowledge for a man is life changing and empowering.
On the other hand the passive attitude of slumped shoulders and a hung head that tries to avoid trouble at all cost that also has a lasting outcome.
In my many years working with high school students, then young adults and even grown men I have seen the guys who have accepted the insults as truths, that have no courage or self esteem, and there is an emotional pain that lasts longer than any fistfight. These guys believe they are victims so they let others victimize them.
I believe this is because these guys were never given permission to stand up and be dangerous.
On that day I had come home from school and told my dad that a kid in class had talked about how he had Ummmm “Relations” with my mother and he was going after my sister next. I knew this guy was a scumbag. I knew I wanted to shut his mouth but dad always told me to stand up for myself, never start a fight, but be the guy who finishes the fight. So when I came home I asked what I do in this situation. How do I deal with this guy talking about my family? And that’s when dad went primal and gave me permission to protect and defend the honor of my family.
I remember the look of fire in my father’s eyes as he crouched down and got in my face. When dad got mad his neck disappeared and his head sunk into his shoulders. All the wrinkles in his forehead disappeared. His eyes would sink back in his skull. His jaw would stick out and he would speak through clinched teeth. As I watched my dad go from human father to animalistic protector I got scared and thought I was in deep crap. And then he said through his teeth “if anyone, ever, talks about your mother or your sister you put them down. And if anyone ever touches them you make sure they don’t get up”.
I remember this conversation clearly like it was yesterday. Because it was the moment where my dad (the biggest toughest guy in my world) didn’t just give me permission to fight but he empowered me to be a defender, to be dangerous. My dad wasn’t then nor is he now a violent man and he wasn’t a fighter. But you better believe he was a tough man and he wasn’t ever going to let someone bully someone or hurt someone he loved.But Mike, “Jesus said turn the other cheek”. Yep… but read this.
Matthew 5:38-39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek turn to them the other cheek also.”
Now what you got to understand is culturally if you were to be struck on the right cheek by a right hand then you were getting a backhand. This isn’t going to hurt you or knock you out; it was just an insult or sign of disrespect. You weren’t going to get hurt, just punked out.
Jesus also said…
Luke 22:35-36 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?” “No,” they replied. “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!
Jesus told the disciples to arm themselves and be prepared for any situation.
Jesus also said…
Luke 11:21, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house his possessions are undisturbed.”
Yep, a man should protect his house and family.
We can go on… David wrote in Psalms
Psalm 18:34, “He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.”
Psalm 144:1, “A psalm of David. Praise the LORD, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle.”
David is telling us that God had prepared him and trained him for battle.
Now before you lose your mind and run out to start a fight.
God also commands us…
Hebrews 12:14, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
See, it is very important to know that we are supposed to do all we can to live in peace with others. Yes we are supposed to live peaceful, as much as we can. But when we do all we can and others are still pushing… then defend yourself.
We are not supposed to be violent or aggressive men, but we are supposed to be prepared to defend our families, our people and ourselves.