Fight, Fight, Fight!

Steve Higginbotham

While in college, I was playing in an “all-important” intramural basketball game when things got rather chippy. Then it happened – someone on the opposing team punched a player on my team. My teammate fell to the floor, the benches cleared, spectators spilled onto the floor, and instantaneously, everyone circled around the two players. All that was missing was the chant of “fight, fight, fight,” like you used to hear on the playground.

Then something incredible happened. My teammate, who had been punched, looked up at the young man who punched him and simply said, “I forgive you.” Suddenly, there was a hushed silence, and the young man who punched him turned and ran out of the gym with tears in his eyes. Never before had I seen such a poignant display of God’s wisdom (Proverbs 15:1; Romans 12:21).

Through social media, I’ve witnessed brethren figuratively forming circles and chanting, “Fight, fight, fight.” I have read some of the most ill-tempered and quarrelsome dialogues from people who claim to be followers of Jesus.

May I suggest that hateful, sarcastic, and biting rhetoric may help one “win a debate,” but it won’t help one “win his brother.” Can we not defend the truth while at the same time pursue a kinder, gentler brotherhood? May the day come when we learn to enjoy kindness, patience, and longsuffering more than “putting someone in his place.”

Are there times when people need to be corrected? Of course. But when people need correcting, don’t take pleasure in it. Would not a better response be that of humility and encouraging others to keep the erring brother in prayer?

I’m committed to defending the truth of Jesus Christ, but I’ve lost my taste for the chant of “fight, fight, fight.” I hope you have, too.

“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition…” (2 Timothy 2:24).