By Jeremy Stalnecker
How often have you found yourself in a fight that you did not expect? Maybe it was more of an argument than a fight or, maybe, it really was a fight that would determine the course of your life-regardless, it was not something that you planned. The unplanned fights are the worst. Since you did not see them coming, you did nothing to plan! And now need to figure out what’s going on before you know what to do next! This, at least from my own experience, is the actual moment when most fights are either won or lost.
Normal people, those people who do not live their entire lives for conflict, do what they can to avoid fighting. Life is hard enough without constantly trying to win an argument or, as does happen in life, stop everything that you are doing to deal with an obstacle or life-altering challenge that wasn’t even on your radar a few minutes before. And since most people do what they can to avoid fighting, most fights are lost the minute they start! If your goal is to live a peaceful, conflict-free life, then when the challenges large or small do come, you will just walk away.
Heres the problem: Some fights need to be fought! While the goal of living in peace is a worthy and even Biblically-encouraged one, there are times when fighting is the only way to the peace we work so hard to attain. Many, however, will come to the conclusion that the cost is too high or the effort to great to make anything but walking away worthwhile. Although I will be the first to acknowledge that not every fight is worth our time, there are times when it would be wrong NOT to engage. The difficult thing, of course, is discerning whether or not the cause is just, and if it’s part of living your God-given purpose. But there are some truths that, when acknowledged, can make the decision much easier. When you are doing your best to decide what you will do when the battle, fight, argument, disagreement, etc., comes your way consider the following:
There is a very real enemy that would do whatever is necessary to keep you from living your God-given purpose.
If you choose to walk away instead of engaging, are you making the decision to walk away from living your God-given purpose? Sometimes the fight is just the obstacle on the path that God has caused you to walk. By deciding not to fight you are deciding to walk only partway down that path and will miss all that God really has for you. Sometimes we believe that our enemy works to get us to do things that violate our conscience or Biblically-informed morals. It is possible, however, for enemy to win by just preventing you from doing what God wants you to do. No moral or ethical failure (sin) needed. All that is needed is an obstacle that keeps you from moving forward.
In every fight, there is chaos and confusion.
At the very least CLARITY needs to be found before the decision to either fight or walk away is made. In every fight, there is the chaos of emotion, the unknown, opinions of others, and personal insecurities. Don’t make decisions based only on things you BELIEVE to be true. Gain clarity (often with the help of others) before making a potentially life-altering decision.
This is your calling.
This is a statement that I make again and again. This moment is your calling! God knew when you would be alive and what would be happening at this exact moment in time. Although it is possible that the fight in front of you is just an obstacle on the path of God’s calling for your life, it is also possible that it is this fight that God created you to deal with! As was said of Queen Esther in the Old Testament, perhaps you were born for such a time as this.
There are lessons to be learned.
Some of the best lessons in my life have come during the most difficult days. I have learned lessons while fighting that have later been used for both my benefit and that of others. It is amazing how much you retain and how much you can learn when you feel like you are fighting to survive. I sometimes wonder how much more I could have learned if, at least a few times, I had stayed to fight instead of walking away.
There are people who depend on you.
This is one of the most compelling reasons to fight and, oddly, one of the most compelling not to. Remembering that there are people who need you and watch how you navigate life can be a powerful tool for decision making. I want to teach the right lessons and leave the right kind of legacy and when these inform the decision to engage or step-back, I generally make the right decision.
Whether we enjoy fighting or not, the simple reality is that in life, the fights will come. When they do take some time to answer the question, “Why should I fight?” Although peace would be preferred don’t ever forget that there just some things, for some very real reasons, that are worth fighting for.
(For more posts like this, check out Jeremy’s blog, Perspectives.)