Men were built to fight. Wired for it. I don’t have the time or energy to debate with people who don’t agree. Some would oppose this by saying “We have a violence problem; we need less violence.” I couldn’t agree more – fighting and violence are two different things. Violence is rage; violence is hatred; violence is uncontrollable, chaotic, and evil. Fighting is different; it is born of the passion and energy of righteousness. The word champion means “one that does battle for another’s rights or honor.” It means “to fight for, defend, protect.” That’s why young boys can be found instinctively engaging in play involving righteousness – cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, superheroes, army. They’re practicing righteousness – taking a side, defending a cause, protecting that which righteousness demands. As boys, they understand that’s part of their wiring.
Violence can happen when we try to take the fight out of the man – because we can’t, because it’s inborn. When we tell men to cool their passion, cool their energy, it’s like trying to put a hurricane in a box – eventually, it explodes. Children need to be scolded not for fighting, but for wisdom and discernment in knowing what to fight for. Too many boys grow up being told not to fight, and their only outlet for this natural force within them is a video game. And so, they’ll spend half their day trying to release it, which doesn’t work because it’s not the type of release they need. They don’t become champions, so they dive right back into the video game hoping if they can pass one more level, kill one more bad guy, they’ll be fulfilled. Guess what; this leads to violence far more often than playing cops and robbers does.
Today, we don’t have foreign marauders or wild animals wandering through our towns and villages, so fight (at least in the physical sense) isn’t as necessary for survival as it was 1,000 years ago. It’s more important that we elevate our righteousness to something more relevant. Daily survival is no longer our primary cause; our fight has moved to the next level. Fighting today means protecting those who can’t protect themselves; defending the defenseless, raising the downtrodden. This is how we grow and mature as a species, and there are too many examples of failure in our modern day history to think we are doing this well. There are more than enough causes to fight for – poverty, genocide, child abuse, domestic violence, religious persecution, hatred, babies being murdered, … the list goes on and on, and for every man, there is a cause that burns his heart and drives him to action, if he’s ready and trained to fight. Or, he can ignore the call and go play video games.
There are healthy, constructive ways for men to release the fight inside them, like on the basketball court, but this is little more than an adult version of cops and robbers. Which means two things: it proves the value of righteous play, and it propels us to something more. The REAL fight. The one where we can become champions. It teaches us to fight for our wives and our marriages, for our children, for our neighbors and friends, our churches and our communities, our country, and for other parts of the world. The challenge with older boys, men of all ages, is not whether to fight – if we don’t fight, we die or resort to violence – but to learn increasing discernment over what to fight for. Men of the world seem far more likely to fight for money, power, sexual prowess or other things that don’t really matter. Sadly, pursuit of these things can lead to violence and to compromise of the values and ideals that are supposed to become our causes. Charlie Sheen, despite his tiger’s blood, is not a fighter. Martin Luther King, Jr, is a fighter of the highest caliber. A true champion. He and many, many others like him should be our inspiration.
My hope for men is we would all get off the couch, go find a good cause, and fight for it and become champions. My hope for women and children is that you would cheer us on and ride to glory with us.
This post is dedicated to young baby K, a helpless, horribly disadvantaged little boy who has more fight in him than many adults. K, you are forever etched in my heart. May a hundred champions, no, a thousand, rally to your side to shelter, encourage, and care for you. God bless you.