What? Are you Chicken?

1 06 2014

We all knew at least one when we were growing up, you could yell at them, insult them, threaten them, push them, and even hit them, and still they woulBoy-Bullying-Other-Boy-1297940d not defend themselves.  They were called cowards, sissies, and chicken because they would not do anything to fight back. Truthfully speaking, I was one of them when just a boy.  I figured if I didn’t do anything offensive in return they would give up and leave me alone.  Unfortunately there are a couple of categories of individuals who viewed this like gas to a fire, if they won’t fight back that energizes them all the more to attack.  We know this type all too well; they’re better referred to as punks or bullies, people I consider more of a coward because they pick “victims” to terrorize who they can feel safe from retaliation.  Like I said, I was pushover at a young age that is until I learned that if I fight back I had a better chance of being left alone.  (Okay it felt good to get a few swats in of my own, there I said it!) There was one such person that could be pushed around pretty easily without sticking up for himself that I know fairly well, matter of fact he’s one of my dearest and closest friends. Because of one act in his life, I learned that a valuable lesson; sometimes it’s not a matter of being too “chicken” to fight; sometimes it’s a matter of waiting for the right reason to “BRING IT!”

Don was a tall lanky boy back in school, raised on a farm in rural Ohio and never took much to many of the things that most teens would do like going out for sports or attending school dances and the like.  But Don was quite gifted in several areas intellectually as well as the arts and theater.  His easy going ways and ready smile were contagious and most folks liked him from moment he came into their lives. Don was one of those people that others would target to pick on because of the reason we’ve already discussed, he just wouldn’t fight back.  One popular boy in school tried on several occasions to push him into a fight and no matter what he did Don would just stand quietly.  “What’s wrong with you, you chicken or something?” the aggressor would taunt.  Still my friend would not raise nary a finger or his voice.  Because I knew this young man better than many, there was an understanding on my part that told me Don had convictions to why he wouldn’t fight, part was because he was a true pacifist and didn’t believe in fighting, and part was because of his Christian convictions that he would not compromise over some jerk’s over inflated ego.  Still I always had a feeling if given the right reason this mild mannered peacenik could come out swinging!  That reason materialized one afternoon in a city park in Michigan.

When Don finished high school he left the farm and Ohio and headed to higher education in Grand Rapids Michigan.  While there he learned a trade and became very skilled as a carpenter, this became his way of life for several years.  While driving to a worksite one afternoon he passed a group of young people congregated in a park in one of the roughest sections of the city.  Giving attention to what was going on as he drove, Don realized that a group of young men had one person down on the ground beating and kicking him.  This certainly put a cold chill down my friend’s back, but he drove on for a short distance and then stopped.  His explanation to me was, “It would have been easy to keep going; after all, what could I do, one person against a mob.  But then there was a voice that asked how are you going to feel if you read about a young man beaten to death in tomorrow’s paper?”  That’s all it took, a squealing tire U-turn and motor revved up in his utility van and it was back to the park, up over the curb; JIM DANDY TO THE RESCUE, JACK!! The crowd scattered for an instant and charged back when Don brought the van to a halt.  Grabbing his claw hammer he waded right into the midst of them swinging for all he was worth and giving the boy on the ground a chance to get up and flee.  The rest of what happened is kind of fuzzy to my man Don.  He knows he got away, he knows he inflicted some pain, and he knows he was on the receiving end of some also, that’s quite evident by a scar on his face he still has today.  If you were to ask him what upset him the most from that fracas, he’d tell you, “I lost my best darn hammer that day!” Chicken huh?  Yeah, right!

Perhaps some would say, “Okay, your friend proved he’s no chicken, but didn’t he compromise his position as a pacifist and a Christian choosing to get into a fight?”  To the contrary, he enhanced it!  Those convictions do mean to live at peace when possible, but they sure don’t mean to stand back and watch a wrong without lifting a finger.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  My man Don’s stands just as firm today as he ever has in his passion for peace, but on that one afternoon he heard the voice of his Lord saying “I need a warrior!” My friend, my hero’s response, “Lets do this!”  “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” C.S. Lewis

My friend has never been in a situation like again and my hope and prayer is he never will, at least not without me being there!  (I hold to the same convictions as Don, but there’s a little redneck that still lives inside this old man!)  He’s still the same person willing to walk away instead of fighting for what some would call “his honor.”  But that’s not where his honor lies, protecting himself from senseless insult.  This Fellow Traveler of the Rock Road draws his honor from seeing a wrong to someone and being willing to fight to correct it. His honor is not for himself, but for the One he is in service to and from whom he also draws his strength, “The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

The next time one of you other types decide to hurt someone weaker, I’d take a minute if I were you to consider who might be watching, and ready for the call to open a can of whoop-a—(well you know the rest that term), for that “Chicken” just might have standing nearby a Warrior disguised as a lanky mild-mannered individual with an easy smile, and even more, a King, there to defend him. Awesome!

See ya next Monday!!


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