You Become What You Fight

Over the past few days, I dove into the 3 Creed movies, AKA Rocky 7, 8, and 9. Each film in the franchise is essentially the same. Rise up to the challenge. Get knocked down. Get back up. Land the counter-punch that ends the fight right before you lose it. It's a predictable plot. But I love it!

That's life, isn't it?

Jesus called for His followers to turn the other cheek. He said,

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also (Mt. 5:38-39)." 

That might be good preaching, but it's terrible boxing. Just let them hit you again? Really?

Brawling is different than boxing. Brawling is just throwing fists hoping you hit something.

Boxing is strategic, almost artistic. Boxing is becoming the mirror image of what's coming at you. If he punches right, you go left. Parry the blow and strike back. Boxing is tit for tat. It's a heavy-weight game of chess with a bloody nose.

To win a boxing match you have to become the exact opposite of your opponent.

And it's here that we see the wisdom of Jesus' qualifying statement. "Do not resist the one who is evil." Our Savior isn't telling us to just go out there and be a punching bag. He's not telling you that if you're being abused to just hang in there. Get out of there! 

He's warning us not to resist it lest we become it.

He's warning us not be become evil in Jesus' name. Just as manipulative. Just as vengeful. Just as hateful - but with Bible verses in tow.

People who make it their cause to fight conservative forms of legalism tend to land on liberal forms of legalism. It may be the other end of the spectrum but see it for what it is, it's still Jesus + _______. 

I've watched as people who fight hateful Baptists . . . become hateful Baptists.

If you try to counter-punch a liar, be careful not to become a manipulator.

Progressive Democrats and right-wing Republicans may have different platforms, but look closely, it's essentially the same dogmatic attitude on the other side of the aisle. Be us or be destroyed by us. 

You become what you fight.

Rocky educated Creed about his opponent. He trained Creed in light of his opponent. Creed's strategy was to use his strengths while he countered his opponent. Essentially he turned Creed into his opponent.

Evil is going to hit you again and again and again. It's what evil does. Expect the blow but you're not going to end the fight by fighting back. If you do, you'll become what you fight. Everybody does. Again, listen to Jesus. "You have heard it said." Everybody tells you to punch back. 

"But I say to you."

Turning the other cheek is counter-cultural. It's counter-intuitive. We want to win. We want to prove our point. We want to end it.

The problem is that when we fight it, we become it. After all of the counter-punching, you begin to wonder, how am I any different than them?

Have I become what I fight? It's a question worth asking.

Turning the other cheek isn't about getting yourself killed out there. It's about coming at it from a different place. It's about drawing strength from a deeper well. It's about repenting of what you've always done and renouncing what you've always been told to do. It's about turning to Jesus during a painful, bloody, awful fight you feel like you're losing.

Turn the other cheek is Psalm 123. You're against the ropes. You've had enough and you're looking to the Lord instead of punching back. It's about refusing to become what you fight and learning to look to the Lord. 

1 To you I lift up my eyes, 

O you who are enthroned in the heavens! 

2 Behold, as the eyes of servants 

look to the hand of their master, 

as the eyes of a maidservant 

to the hand of her mistress, 

so our eyes look to the Lord our God, 

till he has mercy upon us. 

3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, 

for we have had more than enough of contempt. 

4 Our soul has had more than enough 

of the scorn of those who are at ease, 

of the contempt of the proud. Psalm 123:1–4 (ESV)



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