I Like To Fight

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Confession time. I like a good fight. Not a punch you in the face, knock you out fight. Rather, I like a good argument. I like trying to match my wits with someone over something I control or can win at.

I didn’t realize how much of this was true until one day in Mongolia when my friend Mike came to see me. We were talking about a problem with Eagle TV’s leadership after I left the station. Suddenly, Mike said, “You like a good fight.”

“No I don’t,” I replied. “I’m just standing up for our rights.”

Mike didn’t buy it. And he was right. Often my first intention is to go for a knock out blow. I want to dominate my opponent, force him to go my way, and gloat over the win. I really do like a good fight.

But what does it really get me?

There were a few times when it seemed to serve me well. Like when the director of City Taxi in Mongolia had a police officer force me to a meeting with him. I and two of my employees were abducted by the officer and forced to a meeting with City Taxi’s director. When I met with the guy he thought he was holding all the cards, but in fact I had the upper hand. And I used it to maneuver him into a corner. At the end of our meeting he kept apologizing. He knew I held all the cards and he backed down, even humbly. But I let him have it, and he deserved it.

But what did it really get me?

Early in my time in Mongolia I met with a group of TV managers to discuss industry issues. Every one of them was angry with me because in the weeks prior I had negotiated exclusive agreements with the top six Mongolian sport franchises. They could no longer carry the sports on their stations. That meant they lost valuable programming and sponsorships because I forced their hands. I had the contracts, the law was on my side, and I conquered my opponents—decisively. The manager of TV25 was so angry he wanted me ejected from the meeting. But too bad, I won and he lost. Victory was mine.

But what did it really get me?

There’s a man I know who is constantly promoting false dates for the rapture and the coming of Jesus. I like to pick a fight with him online because I know he’s easy to rile up. His theology is so screwed up that he borders on being a false teacher. I know I have the upper hand theologically, but he’s set in his ways. I’m sure he’ll be promoting false rapture dates until he dies. But that doesn’t really matter because I know my subject, and my scripture and he just repeats the same tired arguments.

But what does it really get me?

There’s a man in scripture that liked a good fight, though it’s not what we usually remember him for. It’s Jacob. He fought with his brother over stew and a birthright, and won. He fought with his uncle Laban over his wages, and won. He even fought a theophany of Jesus in the dessert, and won.

But what did it really get him? Family division. A busted hip.

It was only when Jacob gave up the fight, and submitted himself in humility to his brother that things turned around. Humility gave Jacob a new perspective. From that point on, Jacob still had serious problems, but he was learning how to become a man of peace.

I like a good fight. But what does it get me? As I age I’m beginning to realize that I need to calm down, slow down, and get the low down on how to be a man of peace. 

Winning isn’t everything when you win a battle but alienate your opponent. Why not rather make peace, bless instead of curse, and be willing to take a loss? Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are the fighters or the winners.” He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Imagine what that could get me. A new friend. A partner. A brother.

“A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18).

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