For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
How Do You Fight? – The Fighting Series – Part 1
We cannot escape struggle. It’s guaranteed. And the world is full of it. You might feel like your world is full of it right now.
Or perhaps for you, it’s more ‘the fight’ that’s present in your life. The fight for justice, equality, protection… you might be fighting politically or socially or for a cause. Or maybe you’re fighting with neighbor or friend or spouse. Or perhaps fighting an addiction, a disease, or a process. And however much we say that we’d rather peace and tranquility, one thing is certain:
We love to fight.
I’m not saying that if you’re battling cancer or alcoholism, that you love that process and diagnosis and all that pertains to it. NO. (Sending you much prayer, by the way). But I am saying that as human beings we have a propensity towards the battle. Even when things seem politically calm, as in, no wars, we create battles to watch and enjoy. And goodness, we enjoy them. Just a few weeks ago I sat screaming at the television as my beloved AFL team, the Melbourne Dees, played an incredible game of football.
There is something about a battle that gets our blood moving.
It’s adrenalin and action and motivation and so much more. A fight can shock people out of apathy, distraction, and mundanity. A fight draws a crowd and attention. A fight rallies the masses and can give a common focus to those previously uncommon with each other.
There is a fight within us all. And a fight for us to engage. But it can be difficult to determine what to fight and how. History tells the story of this confusion; of how we often we fall to blaming, demonizing, and fighting each other. ‘Us verses them' on mass. Blood against blood, neighbor against neighbor, nation against nation. This escalates quickly in battle.
So how do you fight for love but keep hate at bay?
How do you fight for truth without dismissing the truth of others?
How do you fight for your dream without squashing the dreams of others?
How do you fight for freedom without imprisoning?
Hang on, how do you fight for love?
It seems like such an ironic thing to say. We’ve all seen how much hate has been poured out in the name of the love. Who do you fight when you fight for love? I often hear people say, “love the sinner, hate the sin.” That’s how you do it.
But can you successfully separate your “sins” from your person? I’m not asking about theology here, I’m talking about everyday life. Have you ever lied? Have you ever cheated? Have you ever hurt someone? These things are not easily driven from our hearts. The mark they leave behind lingers, and influences who we are and what we become.
I think “love the sinner, hate the sin,” is mute. Lazy, even. It allows us to skim quickly over deep waters rather than taking the time to dive in. It grants us permission to be judge and jury over our fellow-humans while the planks in our eyes stay stubbornly in place. It assumes that we know what is sin and what is not.
And just like a battle or a fight, it can be difficult to determine the ‘goodies' from the ‘baddies.' There’s a story to every war and skirmish, there are muddy details to most retaliations and responses. The assumption that we would be able to quickly determine with ease, what to love and what to hate is arrogant.
Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood. It’s eternal. Rather, it’s internal.
Written by Liz Milani