Comments On Fair Fighting
We’ve heard these legendary sayings. “Fight fire with fire,” “Whatever it takes,” and recently I heard, “get your hands on their karma and turn it on them early.”
These expressions may seem to carry the sound of loyalty, commitment to a cause and perseverance. I want to raise the possibility that these remarks may also reflect ill-conceived attitudes that can take us into reactions that miss the mark of what is right and just.
Friedrich W. Nietzsche warned, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster … for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
Along the same line, Richard Rohr offered that “We all become well-disguised mirror images of anything that we fight too long or too directly. That which we oppose determines the energy and frames the questions after a while. Most frontal attacks on evil just produce another kind of evil in yourself, along with a very inflated self-image to boot.”
I want to point out to us (Christians) that we must carefully and prayerfully guard our militance. In resisting evil, opposing humanism and exposing sin whether in personal behavior, institutional doctrine or in the culture, we can become so obsessed with fighting our enemy, we begin to use his tactics.
Isn’t there the danger that we become so emotional, so locked into the aim of defeating what is wrong, maturity, discipline and balance slips away from us and we gradually begin to use the same methods we oppose in the enemy camp?
There is a form of situation ethics that can subtlety get in the way of righteous zeal. For instance, we oppose lying but may be tempted to distort the truth when we are under fire or in intense moments of debate. We may accuse our opponent of ignoring contexts, leaving out pertinent facts and leaning away from objectivity. Shouldn’t we examine ourselves by that same criteria?
Our cause may be righteous, but our methods unrighteous. Our beliefs may be biblical but expressed with such anger we defeat ourselves. Our purposes may be holy, but our tactics unholy.
We must resist the devil without using his tactics. Stand for truth without compromising in our presentation. Debate to inform, not just to win at any cost. Have the glory of God at the highest point of intent.
TRUTH CONNECTION: “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds,” and “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, (2 Cor. 10:1,2, Eph. 4:15).