I can still slide over my tooth and feel where it chipped off as my face hit the concrete after a massive blow. I can still look at my thumb and see the scar from a crazy Albanian. I relive those memories sweetened by a cocktail of adrenalin and regrets and, I have to admit, a smile on my face.
A fight was the ultimate challenge. Suppressing the fear of possible outcomes, raising the fists and diving in. Even the loser wins for he receives the honor of courage. No backing out, no running away.
Fighting is woven into the DNA of every man. Protecting the family and slaying the dragon. Stories of heroes were told since the beginning of man. From Gilgamesh to Achilles and from Conan the Barbarian to Wolverine and Batman, they all fought like we aspire to.
Enter the church
All of that disappears once we walk through the gates of a church. We observe the people around us and realize that being godly is equaled to being trampled upon.
So we scrape by in the beginning because we are new and unscarred. We’re sacrificing our old nature and putting down our rights, so adopting this new behavior as well seems like the mature thing to do.
So we “cover up” and forgive other people’s sins without any consequences for them. Sure, it irks us a little to let everything go. But this is what a Christian does so this is what we do.
With time, the glamor disappears, and the dust settles. Over and over again, we “give up our rights” and “cover with grace”. We’re beaten down and get whipped like dogs. A man can only handle that much.
We deal with hurt the church’s way and keep it inside. We don’t address the issue and let the offense grow in our hearts.
We became actors who fake love. We’re trying to be like our Lord, but our pain keeps us from trusting. We’re not able to grow together with our family because there is no love without trust.
So we get eaten up from the inside. Some get fed up and leave, others bow their head and die the slow death of a slave.
And the Bible’s promises of joy and freedom will only be revealed to us in heaven, at last.
Do you know who you’re following? Do you know the God who fights the Battle of Armageddon? On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.
He’s not the kind of guy who stares at the floor when sin is ravaging his surrounding. He’ll act quick and determined, bringing the sword to sin’s throat immediately.
Jesus never covered up anything. He confronted the Jews, didn’t tippy-toe around the issue nor did he hint until the people got it. No, he was straightforward and right to the point.
Jesus offended a lot of people. His disciples mentioned it to him, and even the Jews themselves told him that he offends them with his harshness. Heck, even Jesus himself asked the people if they are offended.
Denying the lion of Judah
The only reason we don’t act that way as well is because of fear. Men in the Western culture and especially in the church have been told to suppress their God-given desire to fight.
This new breed trusts what fear tells them instead of doing the right thing. We’ve been castrated, and we feel it.
Deep down we know that all those explanations we give to ourselves are worthless justification for our trembling knees.
We believe in a lie that keeps us from our destiny. We let fear control our actions and beat us up afterward for listening to her.
Lived collectively, we make a silent pact not to talk about it. We agree not to poke at our shame or the hurt of other men being as afraid of their destiny as us.
Who will reap the consequences?
We live in shame, but we live securely. At least so we think. Do you say, men of the church, that your inability to confront evil in this world goes by unnoticed?
We are known to accepts every sin, tolerate every mistreatment and smile even when we just got slapped. It is not to offer the other cheek. It’s being a coward.
Because holy men are silent, others can act. Human trafficking, violence on the streets and pornography in the schools. It happened on our watch, and we didn’t do a thing.
What do you do if your daughter gets forced into something she doesn’t want? Do you apologize for interrupting and ask the guy if he could possibly stop? My brother, that’s not you!
Will it pass if only we are graciously and nice? Of course not. It will only get worse. Our attacker’s guilt becomes our condemnation, and our failure to act becomes our bitter companion.
Letting fear rule our hearts is not trusting God. This word is a scary place, but Jesus called us for more. We are the sons of the living God, destined to trample on the snake’s head.
Nothing in this world can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. He has our back. Jesus Christ, the creator of the universe and truth itself, is on our side.
We only have to acknowledge our sin. He will forgive us for our sins for that is what he came to do. And ultimately, he’ll form us to the man he called us to be. Believing the truth and rejecting the lies.
The warrior inside each man is part of our identity and destiny. Mixed with sin, it has brought forth much evil. But it is a part of who we are and what we are called to be.
Brothers in arms