Wars, conflicts, contracts, congressional seats, political power, philosophical or theological debates, domestic violence, verbal assaults, road rage, dogmas, doctrines, budgets, sports power rankings, preferred action heroes, revenge, one-up-man-ship, talk show viewership, competitors, and on and on and on.
On and on and on.
Since when did we become each others enemies just because we prefer a different sports team, political party, or religion?
When did our neighbors become Christmas decoration competitors or monsters for having a different schedule or culture than us?
Why have we taken the saying "whats worth fighting for?" and made it a rallying cry around loyalty to a phone, computer, shoe, or car manufacturer?
Does the pursuit of freedom, individually, economically, and communally, really predicate the creating of some other group that is the source of all evil while our particular group is the only one with the "noble cause?"
Oh wait...we don't even talk about the noble cause anymore. After all, "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
Do we really think an eye for an eye is the only option in our world? How do we delineate whether someone with a gun is "good" or "bad" anyway? Now we can fight over who and how that gets determined.
Do we really think that we have to fight to eradicate all variation of thought, lifestyle, worldview, culture, or ideology?
The ends must justify the means, right?
After all, only the winners get to write history.
We need to move beyond "what is worth fighting for" to "what is worth dying for."
Most of what we argue and fight about simply drains our energy about things that don't truly matter.
But what we would die for directly reveals the core convictions we live our lives for. Someone wants to kill me over what I believe? Be at peace with that.
We can be humbly confident in our beliefs no matter what the world around us is doing.
No longer must we convince, convert, or condemn others for thinking or living differently. Even if we truly, honestly believe our way is true, right, or noble.
By being willing to die, rather than willing to fight, our pulses can remain a bit calmer, heads a little more level, and we can demonstrate the positive attributes of life, those forces that bind rather than divide.
We can ask ourselves is a topic or idea is a "hill worth dying on."
Yes, we each believe in something we deem Truth, and so are willing to die for. Whether family, God, virtue, or something else, we all have something we hold closely to our very identity.
Things that life wouldn't be worth living without.
We can stand firm and hold fast without going on the attack. We can hold fast to one view but not require others to get on board or become enemies.
Surely its tempting to fight to try to convince. Yet it is rarely effective.
Here's the rub - stop fighting other people and just live for whats important, virtuous, or good.
If a fight comes to you, know whether it is something that you are willing to die for or not.
If it is, bear witness to the truth.
If it isn't, let it pass. It isn't worth a fight.
It is never worth a fight.
It might be worth your death.
Fights don't convince. They coerce, which never changes hearts, minds, or public wills.
Bearing witness, the aim is not in demonizing another person but in discussing, engaging in dialogue, listening, standing firm. Don't back away, but also do not try to gain leverage to win by going on the attack. Simply bear witness. See the other person as a neighbor worth loving, not an enemy worth killing/beating.
Perhaps if we really let this way sink in, we could work through the ideologies, problems, and injustices of our day in a manner which is productive, strengthening, and mutually beneficial.
Or we can keep fighting, see everyone with a different view on life from us as the enemy and reason for our lives not being as good as we want them.
We must learn to take some responsibility for our own actions and how they impact others. We are all interconnected, co-humans in the finite space of the planet Earth.
Fighting places blame and responsibility on others while taking none on ourselves.
Dying without a fight takes responsibility upon our shoulders even though we know we are not the sole problem, but just a part of the problem. (Hmm...for those fellow Christians reading this...this is exactly the model we have in Jesus. Read any Gospel account or Phil 2. We are being made into His image, right?)
Dare I say that fighting is childish in nature while dying instead shows maturation?
Be willing to die.
Only then can you start living.