Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rules of Fighting

A friend (http://www.leadinginfluence.com) of mine sent the following out...

"A pastor in Kamloops wrote this. He's also a medal winner in 'ultimate fighting'. I present it unedited.

I have always been a fighter. My grandfather and step-dad taught it to me. Stand up for things you believe in. Stand up for family and friends. Stand up for yourself. Fight for what you think is right and true.I was taught to box and wrestle. They taught me rules of fair play. No dirty fighting. No hitting someone from behind the back. A fair fight should be one on one. Only cowards need a pack of friends to join them in a fight against one person. When the fight is over, its over. Shake hands and be friends.

I wish someone would have taught church people this. I have seen Christians get offended and hurt. I have seen them get mad and bitter. I have seen them fight. They rarely fight one on one. They normally fight behind your pack and need to spread their offense to get people on their side. They need a pack to feel brave and right. They do not work out their issues one on one. No not at all. That is why offense and bitterness spreads like cancers through churches. Most offenses are second-hand offenses picked up from someone else.

They also rarely fight fair. They take cheap shots, below the belt. They get personal and mean. It normally starts as some small issue and blows into something huge. I have seen huge ugly personal fights break out over views on drinking, or music, or church attendance, or doctrine, or any myriad of things. It's not that these issues do not matter. It is fine to get mad and disagree over some of these things. I have gotten mad and even told someone to kiss mine, so far be it from me say there is no room for fiery conflict. However, it is wierd how something small becomes not a small fight but a huge offense. Small things like a root of bitterness spread like the dandelions on my lawn. People are hurt and mad like you had just beat up their mom, not merely disagreed over doctrine.

They want to start a war like America after 911. The only thing is it is not 911, nobody died, feelings merely got hurt. Not quite worthy of a war. Call each other a bad name if it makes you feel better and get over it.The last rule I was taught is that when a fight is over, it's over. So many seem to carry on fighting for years. Let it go. You had a fight. Its over. It takes two to fight. You played you part. Let it go. Fighting hurts. Heal. Forgive. Go forward. If your a real big kid, even shake hands and be friends. Maybe have a beer, or a pop, or something, but let it go."



novice said...

I've seen people who can do this. I used to cringe when my father would speak up about things in the church - but he never fought dirty and never spoke badly of the people he argued with. He was the kind of person who never said anything behind your back he hadn't already said to you personally.

Now that he's gone I understand that it isn't as easy as it seems. When I found myself in the middle of a church fight I tried to "fight fair". Sometimes I was more successful than others. When I realized I wasn't going to get anywhere, and I'd been hit below the belt a few times, I walked away from church altogether rather than get bogged down in a dirty fight. I still think there had to have been a better alternative but I don't know what it would have been.

At that point I just didn't believe in church enough to fight for it anymore. I've become convinced that to really fight for something you have to believe in it. Fair fighting comes at personal risk and requires a lot of conviction - but it takes nothing to just get bitter and take cheap shots.

Anonymous said...

That's how you know a church has really become a family. It's like sibling rivalry.

It is deep and painful and hard to get over because it is like a family wound.

Just like in marriage, we sometimes have to be reminded we are on the same team, working towards the same goals.

Anonymous said...

Wow indeed. Next time I'm in Kamloops, I'll duck and cover.

Manetheren said...

Some of us just don't know how to fight properly. My family has never really fought about anything, we just push it down where the anger stews. With me, the anger usually turns to apathy over time. On the other hand, my wife's family fights often and fiercely, but almost always fairly. They get stuff out in the open, deal with it, and they are stronger and tighter afterwards. I'm sure that our upbringing - how our families dealt with conflict - has a direct impact on how we handle conflict in church. With the past conflict in my old church (which Novice may or may not be talking about in his post), I basically ignored it and kept on going. While this may have been convenient and acceptable to me, I suppose I could have fought in a supportive manner for those who were being wronged.

Anonymous said...

How can one respect a pastor that says "kiss mine"?

Reminds me of a recent story I heard about a pastor throwing a Bible at someone he was mad at. Come on now. Show a little restraint where it matters.

A wise pastor knows not to step in the middle of fights or gets tempted to waste precious time and energy engaging in them.

Like someone recently said, "If the angel Michael had trouble fighting off the enemy, how can we expect to?"

SoulPastor said...


You said "How could one respect a pastor that says 'Kiss mine"?

I would venture to say, because I do not know this person, that they are just being transparent and obviously made an error.

I would trust that this would not be one of his normal ways of dealing with people...as for throwing the Bible...ever seen the movie Saved?

Trying to figure out what the last statement has to do with the rest of the comment, however....

Misty B said...

I think at times we can not fight fair because we feel like it is the only power we have. I am not justifying it. I just find that I so often feel so powerless in situations that I do stupid things when I think I have been treated unfairly.

I have been thinking that maybe part of this is not trusting God. Why do I always believe I have no power to change things? If God is on my side why not depend on Him to help me through all of this instead of trying all the other indirect routes I can come up with to make things right.

I had a situation at work come up yesterday where I thought I was being treated unfairly. I contrived all kinds of 'strategies' to deal with it. I didn't do any of them because I knew it wasn't the right thing to do. So I prayed about it. I asked God to show me what to do and what to say.

I ended up having a great conversation with someone that changed the way I saw things. I calmed down. The person was able to be authentic and truthful with me because I was able to clearly yet calmly explain where I was coming from. I found I had an ally where I thought I had someone working against me.

Sarah said...

I like how he said, "one on one..." so many fights are at war-scale before the other person even knows you are upset with them. I think the other point should be, whenever possible FACE TO FACE... we had it recently where we sent an email, coated in love, however, it was not read that way on the other end... bitterness and much misunderstanding resulted, whereas, if we had just picked up the phone and made a coffee date to clear the air, it would have stayed one on one. Email just doesn't cut it... But then again, some people just need to "let it go" a little easier, eh?!