Between Peace and Pacifism

I wanted to take some time today to clear up a misconception about me.  I do not like to fight.  I do not like to argue.  But most of all I do not like confrontation.  Some people who know me have the incorrect perception that I do enjoy fighting, arguing and confrontation.  I do not!  Now, you may ask the very astute question, “If you really don’t like those things, where did they get that notion?”  The answer?  Because I will fight, argue and confront when necessary.

There are times when you must fight.  When truth is at stake, when your family is in danger, or when you are holding on to a lifelong conviction which you suddenly realize has no basis in truth.  O.K., so maybe not the last one but for the first two, yeah, you fight.  If need be you fight to the death.

As a young man I got into a lot of fights.  I was young, impetuous and a little wild.  I went place I should not have gone to and ran into situations in which it was fight or (potentially) be killed.  I got to be pretty good at fighting.  But there was one problem.  Fighting became my natural instinct when anything I did not like came my way.  There is one more thing that you need to know to understand the situation.  I not only fought at the drop of a hat (might even drop one myself just to start a fight) but I really began to enjoy it.

I realized this had become a problem so I sought help.  Where?  Where else, a Dojo!  Yep I went and began to take classes in the martial arts.  For some of you this may not make sense but it was the best thing that could have happened to me.  My instructor had one golden rule, if you fight outside the Dojo you are not allowed inside the Dojo.  My instructor soon realized that with me that would be a tough road.  So he proceeded to beat the tar out of me inside the Dojo.  I had all I could handle and was so sore I had no time to go find anything outside the Dojo.  This did not solve my problem, though.  My instructor was kind and wise.  My training was rigorous.  But it did not help!  And then . . .

Then I learned a very valuable truth.  There are things worth fighting for, and things that are not worth fighting about.  I have chosen my terms very carefully; there are things worth fighting for and things not worth fighting about.  For some of you this is merely a semantic distinction.  You believe that pacifism is the way of Christianity.  I disagree.  Christians are commanded to live in a constant state of “Battle Readiness.”  The problem arises when we fight and argue about things amongst ourselves instead of fighting for the things that do matter.

So let me get to the point.  It has been decades since I have been in a physical fight.  But I pray that there is never a day that goes by in which I am not involved in a fight to the death.  I pray that God would grant me the means to fight against the Enemy in a way that brings Jesus glory.  I pray that when error is present in the church God grants me the courage to fight for the truth.  I pray that as I live that I would never ever stop fighting, arguing and confronting any and all things that are contrary to Scripture.  We can never be satisfied with where we are until we are in the presence of Jesus.

I can honestly say that I am tired of fighting, that I am sick of arguing, and that confronting sin is draining.  But I know that I do not have a choice.  This is my responsibility, my joy and my privilege.  My problem is that at times I have shifted from fighting for the Kingdom and turned to fighting about the Kingdom.  For those in the Kingdom with me, whom I have wounded, please forgive me.  For those who want to avoid the fight, quit cowering and CHARGE!

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