Men know the world is ruled by violence and threats of violence. Though most of us may live in comparative safety, men who are at all aware of human nature know that peace is the exception, not the rule, in human affairs. We are born into a world in conflict: good against evil, order against chaos, freedom against tyranny.
I saw the 2000 movie, “The Patriot”, long ago. It is not a historically accurate depiction of the United States War of Independence from England. However, it is a movie worth seeing. The scene I remember most clearly is the scene in which the protagonist, Benjamin Martin, played by Mel Gibson, attacks a British Army detachment. Before he begins the attack, he prays, “Lord, make me fast and accurate.”
That is a humble, confident fighter asking for strength and wisdom so he may prevail. Here’s the clip:
He is like Private Jackson, the Christian sniper in the 1998 movie, “Saving Private Ryan.” I was an Assistant Army Attaché in Beijing when Saving Private Ryan came out. It sparked discussions with Chinese military men about the idealism of the U.S. system. They were intrigued that we would promote a credible depiction of the U.S. Army sending an entire squad to retrieve one soldier for the sake of his family. It is a good depiction of American values and though fictitious, it is believable. In that movie, the sniper Private Jackson is an efficient idealist fighting for what he believes. Here’s a clip of Private Jackson:
These are two examples taken from fictitious accounts of American men in combat. Here’s what important: we must think these matters through, for we may be called upon to do violence to advance our interests, our ideals and to protect those we love and lead. It is the privilege and the responsibility of being a man.
If called upon to fight—physically, spiritually, legally, morally or otherwise— be clear ahead of time on what you believe. If you do decide to fight—for yourself, those you love and lead or on behalf of the innocent-- pray to God that you will be fast and accurate, for you will be fighting for your life.
Go all in or don’t go in at all, and fight to win.