One of my closest friends during my high school and college years was Kent Weber. 6’-5″ and the best athlete at his high school, Kent was also the oldest of three sons of our church’s pastor.
One day, between classes, a friend of Kent’s ran up to him and said, “Your bother is about to get into a fight in the freshman hall!” Immediately Kent dropped his backpack and went on a sprint to his brother. Down a set of stairs. Through the commons. Around a corner, then another. As he came into the freshman hall, Kent saw that his brother, Blake, was in serious trouble.
Without breaking stride, Kent slammed into the bully like a wrecking ball sending him flying across the hall. Looking dead into his eyes, Kent said, “That’s my brother, and you will NEVER mess with him again!”
Most of us reading this story are far beyond the years of worrying about high school bullies. Yet, none of us have outgrown the need of having brothers who are willing to fight for us. But what does that mean? Setting aside physical altercations, how do Christ-following men contend for one another? I believe the story about Kent and Blake offers us three insights.
Brothers prioritize one another.
When Kent heard his Blake was in trouble, he immediately stopped what he was doing to help his brother. Blake was more important than anyone or anything else at that moment. We all need those men in our lives, don’t we? The guys you can text in the middle of the night. The brother who will cancel a meeting, change his plans, make sacrifices in your greatest time of need. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” That verse challenges me, and I hope it challenges you too. Fighting for our brothers in their time of need is not meant to be extraordinary or exemplary. It’s what we’re born to do.
Brothers respond in times of need with decisiveness.
When Kent ran into the freshman hall and saw that his brother was in serious trouble, he didn’t slow down to assess the situation and think through what he ought to do next. He didn’t stop and ask someone for their assessment of the situation. Instead, Kent ran even faster, knowing precisely what needed to be done at that moment. After all, as an older brother, he had prepared for this moment, having had conversations with his father about what responsibility he carried as a brother. It’s important to note that decisiveness is not merely about responding to a situation quickly. Pace without consideration is a recipe for recklessness and despair. Instead, decisiveness is about being able to apply wisdom and prudence speedily and effectively.
Life is full of challenges and hardships. A time is likely coming when one of your brothers will need you to fight for him, for his character, his family, his health or his purity. Are you doing the work now, so you are ready to step in when you’re needed most? Are you constantly seeking to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (2 Peter 3:18)? Not in the I go to church most weeks and pray before meals sort of way, but in the manner that says the battle is raging all around me and I need to be ready for whatever knocks on my door. Likewise, we need to pursue deeper relationships with our brothers. Do you know the other guys in your Fight Club? Their struggles and fears and vulnerabilities? If so, are you taking the next step of becoming a student of those struggles and fears and vulnerabilities? Are you contending for them in prayer and seeking God’s wisdom on how you can be most helpful?
Brothers fight with conviction.
I wonder how the bully would have responded if Kent had walked up in the middle of the fight and nicely asked the bully to punch his brother just a little softer? I wonder how Blake would have felt? Certainly not advocated or contended for. But that’s not what Kent did. While I pray that none of us will need to put our bodies on the line, Kent’s reaction made it abundantly clear that Blake was his brother, and he was willing to contend in every way for him. You have to have a deep conviction to do that. You have to believe in the person you are willing to fight for at any moment. Jesus said it best when he told his disciples, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13)”
This is how we fight for our brothers.
Kevin + the Fight Club Team