Let us not love in word or speech but in deed and truth. – 1 John 3:18
You probably can look at me and see that I’m not big on physical fighting. Actually, this wasn’t always the case. There was a time when I was convinced that the only way to resolve a disagreement was to fight it out. In fact, I still have a crooked bone in my right hand, a remnant of a cracked bone from a fistfight during my early teenage years.
I remember well my first fight. I was in the ninth grade: a budding tough guy complete with penny loafers, tight jeans, rolled up shirtsleeves and a well oiled DA. I had eaten lunch and gone out to watch the PE class play baseball. I was too cool to play myself, but I always enjoyed watching the bumpkins trip over the ball.
I was standing back from first base when some scrawny little kid stepping up to bat. Amid cheering catcalls, he took a full swing and barely nicked the ball, sending it on a slow roll. It would have been a great bunt if he had planned it that way. The kid didn’t seem to care wether it was a good hit or not, and took off running for all he was worth to first base. It was obvious that he was going to make it, and I was secretly kind of excited for him. After all, any hit was better than no hit, and the kid had speed.
The first baseman was less that impressed. Just as the kid stepped toward the first base and looked back to wave at his teammates, the first baseman stuck out his leg for the sneak trip, which sent the unsuspecting runner for a nosedive into the dirt.
I was less than impressed with the first baseman and felt it my duty to let him hear my opinion. I opened the discussion with, “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?” He closed the discussion with a quick right punch to my left eye. That was the quickest discussion and the biggest shiner that I ever had. My eyes stayed closed with the discussion, as did my fighting career. I decided then that being a tough guy costs more than I am willing to pay.
It has been numerous years since that fight, I’ve thought of it often and never regretted it once. Even knowing the results, I would do it again. There are times in everyone’s life when you have to take a stand—win, lose, or draw. That time may occur anywhere, in school, at work, church or home. You may not expect it. You may not be ready for it. But even a tough guy has to stand for something.
Prayer: Lead me to practice standing up for others each day, Lord, so that my courage to defend those in need may grow. Amen.