He fought the battles no one else would fight
Till, bitter, he fought foes already dead
Estranged, he fought his fellows by his might
And died but slaying foes within his head.
To fight for a just cause is a noble task, but many dangers face the warrior of Christ. In a fallen world where injustice and depravity, corruption and misplaced morals are so common, our great Captain won His victory on a Cross. As we are only to win by following His example, there are a few dangers we should be wary of as we strive to bring Christ’s light to a world that loves darkness.
1. Rambo Syndrome
Zeal for the Lord is a virtue, and born of this zeal, one may want to defend against any possible threat. But the opposition to Christ’s mission in the world is legion, so we each run the risk of trying to defend every front alone, forgetting that we fight alongside brothers and sisters, angels and saints. If I forget that I am only one foot soldier in the army of Christ, I will find myself exhausted from the constant battle. I can also be tempted to think that letting an issue go unfought means conceding that issue.
This danger of becoming the man who always picks a fight can be countered with prudential tact and discretion, recognizing that leaving an issue unfought by no means amounts to conceding.
2. Friendly Fire
The one who always fights, forgetting that he is among the myriads of hosts of God, also runs the risk of getting “trigger happy.” Perhaps we get nervous or impatient with the way another person in the Church defends an issue. Perhaps we see an issue that they failed to notice that will confuse people later. Perhaps they are simply wrong about a small issue. Whatever the reason, we attack them for this perceived error or insufficient zeal.
This reaction helps no one.
Helping them in the fight or correcting them in private leads to growth and understanding and strengthens the Body of Christ. If they do not listen, there are two possibilities: they see something that you missed and they are in fact correct to act as they did, or they are wrong to not listen to you. If the former, have the humility to learn. If the latter, Jesus Himself gave ways to deal with an erring brother, and none of them include denouncing him outside of the assembly (see Mt 18:15-17 or Lk 17:3-4).
3. Jaded Warrior
For the seasoned campaigner who has, perhaps, gotten tired of always fighting an uphill battle, it can be easy to forget that Christ’s battle was also an uphill battle, up the Hill of Calvary. To forget this truth, the truth that victory lies in the Cross at the summit of Calvary, can easily lead the campaigner to cede to the culture of negativity, complaining about all the issues without proposing a solution or at least complaining about all the issues and never mentioning the good. Yes, there are issues: we live in a fallen world that is not paradise. Yes, we should strive for perfection. But for there to be recognizable issues, there must first be a clear good in which the issues can be recognized.
The remedy, then? Focus on the good, on the potential that God created in each person, and encourage them to greatness. Do not give in to negativity.
One more thing worth remembering: the Victory is Christ’s, and each little victory of ours is a triumph of His grace in our lives. Because His grace wins the victory in us, our victory redounds to His glory, a glory in which we share as members of the Body of Christ.
So with this in mind, fight on, warrior of God! Fight the good fight, and finish the race in the strength of Christ, to His glory and your unending joy.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Dominicana, the Dominican student blog of the Province of St. Joseph, and is reprinted here with kind permission.