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Do Men Know How to Pick a Righteous Fight?

People are confused about a lot of things today. The things that we used to consider basic, like a man’s attraction to a woman are under attack.  In Japan, nearly 40 percent of singles in their 20s and 30s do not want a romantic partner, with many calling relationships “bothersome,&…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

People are confused about a lot of things today. The things that we used to consider basic, like a man’s attraction to a woman are under attack. 

In Japan, nearly 40 percent of singles in their 20s and 30s do not want a romantic partner, with many calling relationships “bothersome,” according to a government survey. They call it sekkusu shinai shokogun, or “celibacy syndrome”.

A third of Japanese men under 30 have never gone on a date at all.

What is up with that? 

At least we’re not that bad here in America. But we’re still pretty messed up. Honestly, I struggle to discover what most young guys here care about. They don’t commit to things for very long and the fear of missing out or the fear of failure seems to hold them back from a lot of things I used to take for granted.

And if they can’t commit to anything, how in the world can they fight for it? The Bible tells us to “learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” (Isaiah 1:17)

Who is doing that? Who is protecting the women and children? Men used to do it, but they seem too busy playing Pokemon GO now. I mean, why bother fighting for rights when you can have augmented reality now?

Picking a Fight

“I’m going to go pick a fight,” says Sean Connery, the Irish cop who sees evil clearly enough to confront it in the movie The Untouchables.

Prohibition led to the rise of gangsters like Al Capone. The movie told the story. Ordinary citizens lived in fear. The police were in Capone’s pocket. Would anyone stand up for what’s right?

And that’s when Connery’s small group of law enforcement officials – the untouchables – decided to pick a fight.

Who in our society is doing that now? Do men even know how to pick a righteous fight? We live in a time where the axiom “all that’s necessary for evil to thrive is for good men to do nothing” is coming true.

Political Correctness

Good men and women are being intimidated and cowed to sit in silence as the values on which our freedoms were established are under siege.

On college campuses across the country, we’re watching as students embrace political correctness. They shout down those who disagree with them. The irony is that freedom is under attack.

Men especially are confused. Typically they do what men have done since the dawn of time – they sit in silence. In the story of Adam and Eve, Adam sees his woman being deceived by evil and instead of fighting, he retreats into silence.

We have a job description

I recognize in taking on this issue that it may feel as though I’m bashing young men for something that feels beyond their control. Let me be clear, this started with us fathers. We Boomer dads didn’t model what our sons needed. We didn’t show them what it looks like to fight for a righteous cause. We were focused on our own careers and 401k’s.

So this is not about finger-pointing or blame. It is about trying to take responsibility that God has delegated to us men.

God gave men a job description (in Genesis 1) – to subdue and rule over creation. It implies a fight. And for most of history, men have done just this. Many have fought unrighteous battles rooted in pride. But some have embraced God’s charge to his people in Isaiah 1.

When America was founded, men had to fight. In the 60’s we fought for Civil Rights. Since then, there have been a confusing set of wars in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

But how and what do we fight in this modern day? And what do we do with a generation that seems nonplussed by the idea of fighting? 

Let’s begin by agreeing on a few things worth fighting for. We need to fight for identity, community, and kingdom for starters. Shame and our own brokenness keep us from experiencing the freedom that God intends. Specifically fight for these truths in yourself and others:

God loves humans and is good.

He loves me.

I am worth loving.

There are those who love me and there is a group I can belong to.

I deserve to live free and then offer that freedom to others.

There are those who can’t fight for themselves – I can help them.

Often, we may be our own worst enemy. It’s for that reason that we encourage others to begin fighting with the kind of vulnerability that invites connection and puts shame to flight. Vulnerability allows people to expose lies and share what may have seemed shameful. It may seem paradoxical, but it destroys the places where lies can set up shop and divide.

From there a strong community can form and vision and values can be affirmed.

And from there, we can launch out to plant the kingdom in places where evil has established a stronghold in other communities. Some call this church-planting. 

In the book The Fourth Turning, Millennials are seen as the “Hero” generation. But heroes need causes. It’s hard to get too excited about causes when every need has been provided for.

Men need to learn how to fight for a righteous cause. Where are tomorrow’s heroes? What can be done to awaken them to the greatness within them?

Comments (14)

  • Thanks, Lindsay. Good insights. I wonder how many people actually ever become the person they were created to be? I’m guessing it’s a small percentage.

  • Seth, I have followed you for a while now and we have had disagreements in the past. Most notably concerning “Syrian refugees.” Time has show that these people are an invading force to whatever host country in which they find themselves. I have said we should fight and have been ridiculed by leaders such as you. So I was surprised to read this post. I agree with you. Where has the courage and intense love of God and country gone? Where has the determined, grit your teeth, never give up fight gone in our young men? Why the confusion? Well I can tell you, it comes from preachers who proclaim “love your enemy,” and “turn the other cheek” out of context; preachers who emasculated men by belittling them from the pulpit every Sunday just to get a laugh and who make men’s purpose in life only to be a servant to their wives. They have not taught a Christ who stormed through the temple with a whip made by his own two hands driving out all the money changers and those who sold animals for sacrifice. So then, how are you going to defend widows and orphans from those who would want to abuse or kill them? What? Try to reason with them? No, in a situation like this the only way to defeat violence is with greater violence. The only thing talking does is get you killed along with the widows and orphans. Why haven’t leaders such as you taught men that fighting for what is right and what is good IS the righteous thing to do? We as a generation are lost because those leading the church have lost their way. The leadership is too concerned with being politically correct and having their “best life now” then speaking the truth and stirring the righteous indignation of men. The fault does not lie with the millinials, but those claim to be their leaders. You leaders haven’t taught them how to fight…only how to behave.

    • Eugene – I do so appreciate your courageous spirit. We need men like you who recognize evil and are committed to confronting it.

      You would be surprised how much those in our ministry challenge our young men to press into hard places and defend the weak and oppressed. That is an early objective for our teams.

      We agree on the need to fight. Where we need a better dialogue in the church is around “how and where to fight”. We need to fight for identity, community, and kingdom for starters. Shame and our own brokenness keep us from experiencing the freedom that God intends.

      Often, we may be our own worst enemy. It’s for that reason that we encourage others to begin fighting with the kind of vulnerability that invites connection and puts shame to flight. Vulnerability allows people to expose lies and share what may have seemed shameful. It may seem paradoxical, but it destroys the places where lies can set up shop and divide.

      From there a strong community can form and vision and values can be affirmed.

      And from there, we can launch out to plant the kingdom in places where evil has established a stronghold in other communities. Some call this church-planting.

      Ultimately, yes, there is the social contract in a nation and there is a national conversation around safety. But it needs to begin with a much smaller conversation around personal responsibility in the arena where we have much more influence – the arena of our own personal relationships and our own impact on the safety of others, beginning with our own family members.

      If that sounds watered down in terms of a national policy perspective, let me affirm that it begins with this conversation (and a thousand others like it in other forums) and we need and value your perspective in it!

  • How and what do we fight in this modern day??? To answer your question it’s the fight of faith.
    Faith is the reliance upon Christ to save you….in every way, in every thing. Eph. 6 makes it clear our battle is not against flesh and blood. It’s spiritual. Our fight needs to be to stay believing in the ONE, JESUS CHRIST, and believing requires faith, which comes through hearing the Word, which requires knowing the Word, which requires acting on that Word. God will do the spiritual heavy lifting. The problem is too many don’t know the Word which renews minds and begins to conform to the image of Christ and then compels to be about our Father’s business . Too many people today are off center and off course and there is only one center and one course. It’s to follow Jesus…His way, His truth and His life. His will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Deception is great today and it will take the truth and light of God’s Word to open the “blind” eyes. You can’t act on the Word/Truth you don’t know….people fight for a lot of causes, fight each other, fight themselves but are they fighting the fight of faith? Faith requires believing in the Word… believing and RELYING on Christ and understands spiritual warfare. We are not fighting people. We are fighting to stay believing in the One Who has already won! We need to know the truth to be set free and when we truly know we ACT like we know. We are living Christ-like…..reflecting Him. The Word only can break off the deception in each and every heart. It’s a choice each one has to make. Choose life? Choose death? It’s is now and always will be about the Word, Jesus, and what we are doing with Him.

  • Lukas – you’re doing so well as you are being activated this year. You have exactly the spirit that I believe God wants to put in men. Thanks for doing the hard work to grow into your own greatness as a man of God!

  • Great points Seth. Unfortunately, I think that the traditional male role has been over criticized, so that our sons have learned to reject work and money. If the modern “career and 401k” is used by a man to provide for and protect others, is it honorable in God’s eyes and a “righteous fight”?

    Our young men need to see that work and financial success are honorable and good….IF used to further the kingdom rather than feed one’s own ego and comforts.

    The world clearly needs more righteous men in the mold that Proverbs teaches us. Humble, wise, hard working, and “giving without sparing”.

  • Hot button for me so I will try not to write a book.

    Too many homes without fathers, or dads who are unattached, uninvolved, out of touch.

    Boys are no longer allowed to fight. Instead they are told to talk about their feelings. I learned from throwing fists, ducking punches and rolling in the dirt that there are things not worth fighting over. However I also learned that there ARE things worth fighting for. I am a firm believer that the “bullying epidemic” we are seeing is a result of making fighting taboo for our boys.

    Moral relativism. I’m right. your right. we all right. When we fight for something we are imposing our moral code on others who do not hold to the same truths. Ravi Zacharias says that when we divorce ourselves from truth, chaos is the result.

    The western world has abandoned the concept of absolute truth. There are no anchors, therefore I only do what is best for me. For most men that means doing as little as possible to rock the boat.

    The church needs to call men to be like the men of Issachar “who understood the times and knew what to do.” 1 Chron 12:32. I pray daily that my kids will know the right thing AND have the courage to do it.

  • I couldn’t agree more. However, our political and spiritual leaders are much to blame. They set the tone for the country. The so-called religious right has fallen far from the Reagan era tree; many of whom has traded in their Evangelistic ‘fire & brimstone’ preaching for Episcopalian ‘prosperity & apologetics’ preaching. George W. Bush’s administration was a faux form of conservatism. In the aftermath of the Clinton years, there was no real change in this country away from the evils of liberal left policies. It is no wonder that the Clintons, the Bush’s and the Obamas are such good pals. And these past eight years has been a national and international disgrace (24 years if you want to combine all three administrations). The United States has lost its standing as a world leader. Even President Duerte of the Philippines does not respect our current, illegal immigrant friendly, gay marriage loving president. And in case those reading this reply assume that I am some redneck Obama hater…think again! I am a black man. A former Democrat and a former Republican. But my point being is that If other nations cannot respect our leaders for failing to stand up for righteousness (eg: embracing the brutality of abortion or favoring transgender public restrooms), then how can we expect young Americans to have respect for our failing traditional way of life? How can we, when we have a presidential candidate who publically praised Nazi sympathizing eugenicist Margaret Sanger as her hero?

    • Good words, Mr. A.

      I wonder if we get the leaders we deserve or if our leaders create the reality that the rest of us live in. Historians call it the “great man” theory of history https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Man_theory. Herbert Spencer’s views are interesting in this regard.

      Our work with young people leads me to conclude that we vote the leaders into power who look like us. Our young people are a mess. It’s not surprising that our leaders should disappoint us so.

  • Couldn’t agree more. You are right, we need a fight to fight. My warrior spirit knows this all too well. The learning curve of discerning what is picking a righteous fight vs our own pride is the kicker. Plus, you have the lover, sage and king roles to play. Thankfully, Jesus has been amazingly faithfully, using this expedition to open my eyes to what the phrase “be a man” looks like. Thank you for sharing, Seth.

  • Preach it Seth!

    You make some good points on many millennial men being politically correct and confused on their role to be played. That there is a battle to fight, we’re often too comfortably numb and distracted to see.

    Men are often shamed for being too “manly” in a politically correct society, because of all the bad examples of dominant men they’ve seen- that turned out abusive or controlling. So they vow not to be like their fathers or whoever they witnessed abuse their role- so they don’t come across as beastly.

    Which leads to owning a new submissive role. Which often leaves them unchallenged, looking for a role to play in World of Warcraft or Halo, because their fighting spirit is just waiting to be engaged in a battle that matters.

    Jumping out of that submissive role behind a screen comes with offending some people, but we knew we’d offend the world when we stopped being of the world anyway.
    It’s worth it to become who you were created to be.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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